Category Archives: Media vs. Military

A political poll of Afghan and Iraq vets

Has some surprising results, which we’ll try to explain.

Just 32 percent of military veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president, according to a new poll from the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation. In a related question, only 42 percent of those surveyed said they believe Obama is a “good commander-in-chief of the military.” Forty eight percent said he is not.

Wait, 32 percent think he’s doing a good job? We wonder how they checked to see that their respondents were actual vets and not homeless guys raving about Agent Orange. Because, really, where did they find these folks? Our guess is deep in the rear echelons of service support. There are so few Obama supporters in SF (active or retired) that everbody in the community knows their names. (Nobody in SF has any problem taking an unpopular or contrarian position, and nobody has a problem with a teammate taking such a position. The handful of liberals we served with were always willing to argue their side and defend its positions in a principled manner — probably why none of them wound up in the media industry). In our experience, the combat arms tend to be more conservative (on national power and military subjects) than the military as a whole. Service support arms are more reflective of national demographics.

Veterans were asked a similar question about former President George W. Bush. Sixty-five percent said they felt he was a good commander-in-chief, while 28 percent responded he was not.

Hah. He had his pros and cons like any other politician, but his dedication to “his” wounded Americans since his retirement has been a hell of a thing to see. Of course, if you don’t hang out where vets hang out, you don’t see it, because it’s not a media stunt thing.

The expansive collection of post-war polling asked current and former service members for their opinions on a series of political issues, as well as personal and cultural ones. Forty-seven percent consider themselves independents; 27 percent identified as Republicans, and just 17 percent said they were Democrats.

That sounds about right. Most vets I know are irritated with both parties’ Beltway potentates right now.

Only 44 percent of veterans believe that the war in Iraq “was worth fighting,” while 50 percent believe the opposite. Afghanistan, however, is still considered a more popular war: 53 percent believe it has been worth fighting and 41 percent think otherwise.

Those are not real popular wars. I think Vietnam polls better among its vets. Afghanistan and Iraq have both lost a lot of popularity because of perceived corruption and ingratitude by their national leaders. And unlike the rest of America, every vet can put a name and a face to the idea of “casualty,” which adds a whole other dimension to the question, “Was it worth it?” Was the war in Afghanistan worth a year out of the USA, having a business fail for lack of the deployed boss’s personal attention, the various hardships and hassles, getting shot at? Hell, against that there’s the old guy who came up and thanked us for liberating his valley from the Taliban mullah who’d stolen his farmland, the hostage we plucked out of a hole in the floor of a warlord’s outbuilding, the 300 people who swore out statements against the local mullah’s militia commander, who later (from Gitmo) confessed to over 100 murders — murders he did, mostly, so he could steal people’s property. So, when that’s the equation, the answer is, “Hell, yes.”

But then there’s the faces and the names. The friends who are like an Irish family’s out-of-town cousins — you only see ‘em at funerals. The frantic flight, launching into the gloaming on a three hour slog through complex airspace to get to a funeral home with new award ribbons so a friend can wear them on his last trip. The fiancee who couldn’t be talked out of opening a casket even when we’d checked and swore (1) it was her guy, our friend and (2) she really, really didn’t want this to be the way she remembered him. The guys who didn’t get the commands because they were dead, and the guys who did that always will be unfairly compared to their dead competition. Is it worth it, knowing all that, putting all that in the balance? And where do you put it, how much weight to give to each memory?

We don’t know. We’ll never know. We can’t go back and change or fix it anyway.

While 89 percent of veterans said they would join the military again, only 41 percent believed that the government is doing a good or excellent job “meeting the needs of the current generation of veterans.” (However, 59 percent felt that their personal needs had been met.) Unsurprisingly, 83 percent of veterans oppose reductions in benefits for servicemen and -women — even if not making the cuts leads to budget deficits.

We’d like to see benefits more narrowly targeted to those who need them as a direct consequence of combat or service. But the fact is, there will always be a percentage of people who work the system. If you make it easy for them, and eliminate the consequences of fraud (as the courts, which make their contempt for military service patent, have done), then you’ll get more fraud.

A majority of service members, 58 percent, support women serving in combat roles, and half believe it won’t make “much difference” in military effectiveness. Fifty-four percent of those polled believe that the military is doing enough to prevent sexual assaults among their ranks.

via Iraq-Afghanistan Veterans Give Obama Poor Grades | RealClearPolitics.

The Washington Post has the poll questions, but very little about the methodology, and a condescending article by Rajiv Chandrasekaran that dwells on the standard media narrative of dysfunctional, emotionally-crippled vets: vets as needy social-services consumers. He does note one interesting finding, amid all the hand-wringing:

The vets hail from families where service in the military is tradition: More than four in 10 have fathers who were in the military, and half have at least one grandparent who was. Almost 40 percent say all or most of their friends have served in the military. By contrast, a national Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in December found that 32 percent of U.S. adults had “hardly any” or no friends who have been in the military.

You have to wonder what percentage of media drones would have “hardly any” or no friends who had been in the military. 95%? 99%? At the Post, 100%?

Chandrasekaran is the master of wringing pitiability out of places it really isn’t:

Despite their overwhelming pride and negligible regret, the veterans look back on the necessity of the conflicts with decidedly mixed feelings.

And he buries deep in the story both the bit about vets preferring Bush to Obama, and the even more interesting poll result: vets are less likely than the general population (67% to 80%) to support veterans’ preferences in jobs. (Our position: if an employer wants to offer that, more power to him. If not, no sweat. We personally believe vets make better employees, but it’s a free country, much to the dismay of Rajiv Chandrasekaran and the Washington Post).

America-hating Piers Morgan signs off with gun-control screed

History repeats.

History repeats.

Supercilious Brit Piers Morgan, who escaped from England with the hounds of Scotland Yard on his heels for his participation in the wiretapping culture of England’s crude lower-class tabloid press, finally came to the point of his last show.

Far from regretting his show’s cancellation, due to abysmally low ratings driven in some part by his doomed anti-gun crusade, Morgan doubled down on loathing for America and its gun culture during his last report.

[T]hat’s where I think guns belong – on a military battlefield, in the hands of highly trained men and women fighting for democracy and freedom. Not in the hands of civilians. The scourge of gun violence is a disease that now infects every aspect of American life.  Each day, on average, 35 people in this country are murdered with guns, another 50 kill themselves with guns, and 200 more are shot but survive. That’s 100,000 people a year hit by gunfire in America.

Now, I assumed that after 70 people were shot in a movie theater, and then, just a few months later, 20 first-graders were murdered with an assault rifle in an elementary school, that the absurd gun laws in this country would change. But nothing has happened. The gun lobby in America, led by the NRA, has bullied this nation’s politicians into cowardly, supine silence. Even when 20 young children are blown away in their classrooms.

This is a shameful situation that frankly has made me very angry. So angry, in fact, that some people have criticized me for being too loud, opinionated, even rude when I have debated the issue of guns. But I make no apologies for that.

via Piers Morgan | final show | gun control | NRA.

This is the third sacking for Morgan, if we’re counting correctly. Once for running a hoax impugning the British Army, once for the wiretapping scandal (the paper he helmed actually went out of business), and third time, at CNN, may be for keeps.

During his swan song, Morgan whined that he really would love America, if it would just be more like Britain on the gun issue. Well, we’d love you too, if you’d be more like Marcel Marceau and shut your pie hole.

Meanwhile, why not go back to Britain and face the music for your tabloid career of bugging celebrities’ phones? (In our country that’s a felony, unless — unfortunately — it’s the NSA doing it. We’re guessing that tapping Paul McCartney’s ex’s phone, as Morgan admitted doing, was a felony over there, too. Reporters working for him also bugged the Royal Family). So head on back to Britain, Piers. We’re sure they have a cozy new situation for you. Maybe we’ll come see you at the appropriate time.

CNN’s replacement for Morgan will have higher ratings, even if it’s this:

CNN Soviet Test Pattern(Soviet “Tablitsa 249″ test pattern, circa 1970, a knock-off of a 1950s Telefunken test pattern).

Update: TV personality Dana Loesch called for a Piers Morgan Range Day today. Many tweeted their own participation. Heh.

Guns sway New York Times coverage of Ukrainian Civil War

A sharp and bloody civil war is raging in Ukraine, a war with ethnic, linguistic, political, and other roots in a deeply divided society. But you know why the civil war is bad? If you read the American press, it’s because of the guns. Gee, why didn’t we think of that!

Maidan before and after

The press is true to its antigun ethos, with one reporter arguing in a tweet that “protesters using firearms in Kiev” were “Horrible tactics – practically begging for a military crackdown.” Max Fisher’s “bitch had it coming” analysis of the protests tweet linked to this New York Times story, which also blames the protesters, not the police that are gunning them down:

“There will be many dead today,” Anatoly Volk, 38, one of the demonstrators, said. He was watching stretchers carry dead and wounded men down a stairway slick with mud near the Hotel Ukraina.

Mr. Volk said the protesters had decided to try to retake the square because they believed the truce announced around midnight was a ruse. The young men in ski masks who led the push, he said, believed it was a stalling maneuver by President Yanukovych to buy time to deploy troops in the capital after the authorities decided the civilian police had insufficient forces to clear the square.

“A truce means real negotiations,” Mr. Volk said. “They are just delaying to make time to bring in more troops. They didn’t have the forces to storm us last night. So we are expanding our barricades to where they were before. We are restoring what we had.”

Gunfire crackled around the Hotel Ukraina and protesters were hit in front of the Globus shopping mall. One protester walked near the fighting with a double-barreled shotgun slung over a shoulder.

“If our guys are dying, excuse me, what can I say,” said the man, who offered only his first name, Oleg. “If they didn’t use guns, the idea never would have come to us.”

The wide use of firearms in the center of the city was a new and ominous phase for the protest movement.

via As Kiev Truce Shatters, Rumors Grow That President Will Declare State of Emergency – NYTimes.com.

The essential divide in Ukraine is an ethnic one. Yanukovych and his party, fundamentally a neo-Soviet party, led by ethnic Russians and comfortable with subservience to Moscow. (Indeed, at every step in the instant crisis Yanukovich has sought and received instructions from his lord and master, Tsar Vladimir). They consider Ukrainians second-class citizens at best. The protesters are predominantly ethnic Ukrainians, who see the Russians through the prism of centuries of Russian oppression, including the Holodomor. On this map from CNN, Russian speaking regions are darker red:

ukraine_map_region_language

The dynamic of ethnic-Russians-who-were-Soviet-era-overlords and local-ethnics-who-were-underlings has played out in the 14 non-Russia former USSR Republics and various former Autonomous Zones. It has come to shots in the Ukraine because the two parties are in rough demographic balance. This map, strikingly similar to the one above, shows the vote turnout — the Russophones voted for Yanukovych.

ukraine_map_region_vote

The peak of the current violence seems to have come when government sniper teams targeted protest leaders. US criticism of the crackdown has been ineffective in the light of Washington’s foreign and defense policy leadership vacuum. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel can’t even get his Ukrainian counterpart to answer the phone or return a call. If that’s not a sign of contempt, we don’t know what is.

Not everyone in the press has swung around to the neo-Soviet side where Fisher and the Times reporting team are comfortable. Sarah Kendzior has a piece in Politico, waspishly calling out Acela Corridor journalists like Fisher for “pretending to care about Ukraine.” Nicole Gervitz (whoever she is) did slam Max Fisher’s “bitch had it coming” tweet:

When people take up arms to protect themselves from the state that wants them dead, they are not “asking for it.”

Yeah. What she said.

Update

The situation continues to develop apace. Security forces leaders, including  reportedly lost their stomach for internal violence and have sworn loyalty to the nation, implying their willingness to maintain order for a new regime. Opposition politician Yulia Tymoshenko has been released from prison, and parliament has deposed Viktor Yanukovych, former President.

Yanukovych fled by helicopter, with a few personal followers, to the ethnic Russian city of Kharkhov (of tank battle fame) in eastern Ukraine, a hotbed of neo-Soviet sentiment. Other Yanukovych loyalists fled by vehicle convoy.

The leaders weren’t being impeded in their flight by the protesters, but police and Interior Ministry forces, especially snipers, who fell into demonstrators’ hands were being beaten. The switch of the Interior Ministry, police, and Berkut troops to the demonstrators’ side may prevent further bloodshed (on both sides) for now.

The essential problem that Ukraine is divided politically has not been solved; if anything, the divisions are now more bitter. Right now, reconciliation looks like a harder path than partition. The situation remains fluid.

One for you Marines

Semper Fee, guys:

Her parents were affirmative-action-hire professors and she has a PhD her ownself, so of course this product of the Self-Esteem Generation is as dumb as a box of rocks, without the common sense God gave the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.

So in a segment where she’s concern-trolling the military, she gets all choked up about the power of military mottoes. Like “Semper Fee.”

This is the same girl that showed her complete lack of class and breeding, not to mention her unseemly racism, in an attack on Mitt Romney’s grandchild (a) because the kid was black and (b) because she disagrees with Romney’s politics. What can you really say about a person like this, who was not raised with a shred of humanity or decency?

She comes from the academic class, and no doubt thinks that Marines (and all the rest of us “green-collar” workers) are dumb. Well, how does it feel to be dumber than every. Single. Marine. Boot. Ever. Huh? And every one of their friends and family members?

AKs everywhere! But what if there never was an AK?

In the comments from yesterday’s post, What did Kalashnikov ever do to these guys?, historian Daniel E. Watters had a key insight into the hand-wringing and pearl-clutching that crept into almost every Mikhail Kalashnikov obit:

[E]very small arms design the Soviets adopted was handed out like cheap party favors. If Kalashnikov’s design wasn’t selected, the journalists would have been decrying the ubiquitous nature of some other Soviet engineer’s rifle.

via What did Kalashnikov ever do to these guys? | WeaponsMan.

He’s got a point. If Sudayev, who died at age 33, had lived, or if Bulkin’s AB had edged out the AK  (instead of having a lot of its internals form the bolt carrier and piston, and recoil spring, of the final AK), people who bemoan the butcher’s bill of the AK-47 might be weeping over the AS-47 or AB-47 instead. (You can see some of the contenders here at Max’s).

Given Russian history and capabilities, they were going to come up with a pretty good gun, or keep trying until they did. And given Soviet ideology and foreign policy, when they got it right they were going to give it to every nascent country, revolutionary group, and terrorist outfit — at least, terrorist outfits that aimed to terrorize someplace other than Russia or the “fraternal Socialist states.”

Not just for the Soviets, arms supplies have always been a tool of international diplomacy. The US has used arms to cement alliances worldwide (gaining collateral benefits of employment at home in the arms industry, and the leverage that comes with controlling the tap of spare parts). As Louis XVI fought his epic wars with Britain, tends of thousands of stands of arms (a musket, bayonet and accoutrements) shipped to the rebellious American colonies, to the point that when the USA began to manufacture its first rifle, the M1795 Springfield, it bore the characteristics not of the .75 caliber Short or Long Land Pattern Musket (Brown Bess) standard in the colonies pre-war, but the .69 caliber Charleville M1766 that our first ally, the Kingdom of France, had provided in such great quantities.

NBC Attacks gums Pearl Harbor vets

Carson Daly and Natasha Leggero laugh at Pearl Harbor vets on NBC.

Carson Daly and Natasha Leggero laugh at Pearl Harbor vets on NBC.

So, one of the benefits of not watching the boob tube is that you don’t know who Carson Daly is and he has to be explained to you. Apparently he became famous on a string of “reality shows” which is what people whose reality is insufficiently stimulating sit down and watch, presumably while breathing through their mouths.

Hey, it takes all kinds to make a world.

So this makes Daly, evidently, NBC’s go-to guy to host a telecast of New Year’s Eve festivities, for all the people whose lives are so narrow that they can only experience a celebration virtually through the screen.

This year his co-host was one Natasha Leggero. Our usual pop-culture explainers were lost and unable to explain her at all; presumably she was selected because she’s pretty, although not everbody finds tawdry drunks — Natasha’s New Year’s Eve persona — attractive.

Wikipedia says she’s a regular on a TruTV series called “World’s Dumbest…” so we probably shouldn’t expect too much from her.

Amid quips about her bikini wax, though (a subject on which we’ll defer to her expertise), she made a vile comment about Pearl Harbor survivors.

SPAGHETTIOS-PEARL-HARBORBackground: last December 7th, a food company was crucified by concern trolls for a Pearl Harbor tweet for Spaghetti-Os, an inoffensive canned-food product much beloved of children. (Even more beloved of their mothers who find cleaning up a Spaghetti-Os mess easier than bringing order from the chaos created by giving a three-year-old the good old linear pasta that Marco Polo, or whoever, brought back from Cathay). The “offensive” tweet is to the right. Media people, whose kids are raised initially by nannies and subsequently by inpatient rehab, find in Spaghetti-Os an object of class scorn, so they took delight in piling on.

So Natasha, or her writers, thought it would be clever to concern-troll about how terrible it must have been for those poor nonagenarian Pearl Harbor survivors to be “insulted by the only food they still can eat, ha ha.” Carson laughed along, as did the whole cast and crew. Nothing is funnier to young and wealthy nomenklatura types than old people who aren’t waited on hand and foot (unless they’re waited on in a VA hospice, which Carson and Natasha find completely side-splitting, evidently).

This is a character many novelists and playwrights have had fun with over the centuries: the woman of externally pleasant appearance, harboring a blackened, shriveled, monstrous and evil soul.

DavidSarnoff_Brig_General_1944NBC was founded, incidentally, by David Sarnoff, who put it — then a radio network — and its electronics-company parent, RCA, in the service of the war effort in World War II. Sarnoff served ably as a general officer on Eisenhower’s staff. Then he returned to RCA and brought the world, first, broadcast television and then, color television. Time magazine, when it still mattered, called him The Father of Broadcasting. A better-written PBS bio is also online.

If not for David Sarnoff, then, and the rest of his World War generation, Natasha Leggero would probably be entertaining the public one man at a time, on her knees, in an alley. Come to think of it, so would Carson Daly.

Defining ‘Arsenal’ Down

Arsenal? Are you kidding, CBS?

This constitutes an “arsenal”? Are you kidding, CBS?

How big is an “arsenal”? The term historically denotes a facility for the industrial-scale production and storage of weapons of war, and carries even in figurative use a strong connotation of “a great quantity of guns and ammunition”. Merriam-Webster says the term dates to Italy in the 16th Century, arsenale, from an even earlier Arabic expression, dar sina, “place of manufacture.” M-W defines the modern English word as follows:

1 a : an establishment for the manufacture or storage of arms and military equipment
1 b : a collection of weapons
2 : store, repertoire “the team’s arsenal of veteran players.”

Increasingly, though, the media has been redefining “arsenal” to mean “any quantity of guns owned by someone we don’t want to have guns,” and “someone we don’t want to have guns” seems to be “anyone but government agents, our own hired bodyguards, career crims who are just misunnerstood after all, and anyone who shares our Party membership.”

We’ve seem some pretty pathetic “arsenals” over the years, especially compared to what we and our friends call a “gun room,” “gun vault,” or even “gun safe.” It’s made us ask the question: “How small can it get, and still be called an ‘arsenal’ by some twerp in the media?”

Well, the answer is in, and CBS can retire the trophy: nobody’s going to go lower than the one-gun “arsenal” we heard CBS News Radio describe in the 1700R news slot Tuesday, December 17th. Discussing a creep who went to his school to shoot his hated debate-club advisor, and shot a fellow student instead, CBS announced that his one slide-action shotgun, his stock of spare ammo (not used), and his machete (also not used), constitutes an “arsenal.” Not just any “arsenal,” either, boyo: a “deadly arsenal.”

Now, the Ron Burgundy who sputtered that Department of Redundancy Department quote was surely, like all CBS electronic-media staff, selected for accidents of biology that produce straight teeth and a full head of hair, or sonorous voices. Certainly not for any intelligence, or ability, traits which are not required (or welcome) in the job. And surely, he (you can tell the “hes” from the “shes” by the fundamental pitch of their voices and the cut of their clothing and hair, but they’re otherwise interchangeable) was a member in good standing of the media monoculture and The Party.

True, the little creep in the case at issue did have some number of homemade molotov cocktails, which didn’t work as he’d hoped (he set off at least one, maybe two, according to media reports, but the media have reported a lot of nonsense in this case, including multiple casualties, when he only shot and wounded one student). But his main weapon as a Joe-Biden-approved pump 12 gauge.

And someone has notated in the stylebook that the word “arsenal” tests well for arousing a condemnatory spirit in the listener; therefore, it should be always used with any quantity of guns. But “a shotgun, a machete, and a couple of beer bottles of gasoline” ≠ “arsenal”.

Among the usual media malpractice, like completely fabricating “facts” and lifting other “facts” from some random Twitter feed, the media have found one fact about the shooter too painful to report — he’s a lefty like they are. They’ve failed to find another fact, and disseminate it, because it also harshes the mellow buzz of their preferred narrative: the whole thing was over in less than a minute and a half, because a good guy with a gun, the school resource officer, showed up. At that point, the would-be mass murderer took his Slow-Joe-approved shotgun and killed himself. CBS News does not want to talk about that. They want to talk about the creep’s “arsenal”.

Poe could have had fun with this. The newsman awakes, aching, bound hand and foot and full of inchoate terror, on a cold floor in a pungent puddle of his own urine. And he looks around, and realizes with shock and horror that he is in a medium-size collector’s gun room and is surrounded 360º by… guns. O, the horror. O, the humanity! He knows they freeze when he looks at them but when he turns his back, their muzzles turn towards him and their beady optics focus on him, burning his skin…

 

Update

Gabriel Malor notes that the media always blame someone else for murders committed by lefty nut jobs. Guess who?

Gurkha had a reason for Talib beheading

A Kukri has its own nomenclature. From khukrimuseum.com

There’s an art and a science to the lopping-off of heads… not to mention a tradition. A Kukri has its own nomenclature. From khukrimuseum.com

We covered this Nepalese soldier of the Queen’s plight back in August, and noted that he returned to duty in July, after initial media reports that he beheaded a prisoner were proven false.

Earlier news reports had the British commander of troops in Afghanistan, Richard Kemp, condemning the Gurkha private, and anonymous British staff officers calling him a war criminal.

[I]nvestigation showed that the headless Talib was a combat casualty, not a desecrated corpse…

So, for whatever reason, the attempt to throw the book at this young soldier got cut off at the… knees. The amazing, Lord Love a Duck aspect of the whole thing is that the ruperts attempted this in the first place. What were they thinking?

Turns out, he did whack the guy’s head off (the Talib in question already having shuffled off this mortal coil). But he had a good reason, which was not reported at the time. Now comes the Daily Mail with more detail:

The private, from 1st Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles, was involved in a fierce firefight with insurgents in the Babaji area of central Helmand Province when the incident took place earlier last July.

The Nepalese soldier, who is in his early 20s, apparently made the decision to remove the head in a misunderstanding over the need for DNA evidence of the kill.

His unit had been told that they were seeking a ‘high value target,’ a Taliban commander, and that they must prove they had killed the right man.

The Gurkhas had intended to remove the Taliban leader’s body from the battlefield for identification purposes.

However, Army sources revealed at the time that he told investigators he had unsheathed his kukri – the symbolic weapon of the Gurkhas – after running out of ammunition.

‘Thankfully he has been returned to normal duties having had a question mark hanging over his future for some time,’ a military source told The Sun.

‘This particular Gurkha is good soldier and has a good record.’

The deceased, now headless, Talib turned out not to be the HVT the Gurkhas were hunting — that time, anyway. The final disposition of the Talib’s head is unknown.

Anyone for buzkashi?

You will be dumber after reading the source of this

small arms survey logoGoing through some of the high-minded but empty-headed writings of the Small Arms Survey, an NGO sponsored by a Swiss do-gooder institute that’s an offshoot of the League of Nations that prevented European war (wait… what?) one is shocked by some of the moronic drivel written there. All the usual suspects of hack advocacy are there: “many experts say” without naming one such expert; “it is generally accepted” followed by some tendentious, extreme, and woolly-headed assertion; or “the peer-reviewed literature generally” prior to repeating some assumption that underlies a raft of bad research.

It is hackery wrapped in bad faith,  shackled by an anchor chain of dishonesty to an anchor of cold-rolled fable, and then dropped into the trackless depths of the Sea of Lies, taking you along for the ride if you’re so unwise as to latch on.

We've seen this clown show before.

We’ve seen this clown show before.

And that’s the supposedly factual bit. We particularly howled at the assertion that the widespread availability of military arms and the provision of arms and training by Russia, France and Egypt, led to the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans by machete and club. Because the eeeevil assault weapons made ‘em do it — never mind that the bulk of the foreign weapons provided to the state of Rwanda before the unpleasantness were complex crew-served and support weapons, machinery of wholesale warfare of no use to unlettered militiamen perpetrating retail mass-murders of civilians. But these guys have an agenda and an ideology, and they live in that deep place in the Sea of Lies where the lights of truth, fact and logic cannot penetrate.

But they don’t end with making questionable factual assertions. They also editorialize, or reprint others’ editorial opinions, which are obviously their own opinions, even though the author’s own institution (then ICRC) flashes a fig leaf saying, “The opinions expressed above are those of the author and are not in any way to be attributed to the ICRC.”

Got that? “We bring this to your attention, but kindly don’t notice we were the ones promoting the idea.” Well, lots of luck with that.

Here’s what the ICRC puts forward as small-arms expertise (source, Small Arms Survey 2001, p. 212) whilst begging that you forget ICRC is pushing this, and what the Small Arms Survey with its faint taint of Kellogg-Briand Pact chose to amplify:

Analyzing non-combat use of assault rifles reveals that the weapon was frequently being used at close range to resolve an interpersonal dispute. Another common scenario is the accidental discharge of an assault rifle while being (mis)handled. In either case, with the victim in non-combat situations much closer to the weapon, the increased kinetic energy carried by the projectile inflicts greater tissue damage and there is increased probability of lethal injury.

Ballistics also has a bearing on weapon lethality. Like all rifles, military assault rifles have a twisting series of grooves within the barrel referred to as rifling. This imparts a twist to the projectile in flight in order to ensure aerodynamic stability. The amount of twist per unit of barrel length changes with different models of assault rifle, even those of the same calibre or within different series of the same model. Organized militaries are outfitted with ammunition specifically designed to match the rifling within the barrel of their assault rifle. This is not always the case with informal militia.

A mismatch between barrel rifling and ammunition means that the projectile has less stability in flight and creates larger bullet wounds. Not surprisingly, stocks of assault rifles, produced at different times in different places and circulating in many parts of the world, are unlikely to be matched with appropriate ammunition. The resultant tendency towards large bullet wounds is yet another factor in the increased lethality associated with widespread weapons availability.

One scarcely knows where to begin with this.

The first paragraph asserts that, because criminal rifle use is likelier to be at closer ranges, wounds are likely to be more severe because energy is higher. This misunderstands, or more likely, given the demonstrated lack of integrity of the writer, misrepresents, the nature of wounds and even of physics. The increased kinetic energy only creates greater injuries to the extent that KE is delivered to the wound victim. Many point-blank and near-point-blank wounds are easily treated through-and-throughs; sure, the projectile had a metric crapton of KE, which a bullet from military ball ammunition frequently retains as it exits the wound victim and proceeds downrange at 2000+ feet per second. KE only counts if it’s dumped in the target. And it only kills if it hits something vital (or the wound goes untreated).

The second and third paragraphs together assert that (1) military rifles’ rifling is carefully matched to ammunition for stability and (2) “mismatched ammunition” is unstable and more grievously wounding (he doesn’t say more grievously than what, but we’ll assume he’s implying than “matched ammunition”). Let’s just make a few points here:

  1. Words have meanings, and technical terms in the firearms world are terms of art with common definitions. Bullets in flight do not have “twist,” for example: they have “spin.” (“Twist” of a solid object would imply that, after firing, the base of the projectile is some degrees offset in rotation around the centerline from the tip). Spin does not produce “aerodynamic stability.” It produces gyroscopic stability — a spin-stabilized projectile retains its stability if it soars into exoatmospheric space (which feat, we will explain, for the Small Arms Survey and anyone else on the small arms short school bus, a rifle bullet cannot do, but certain select cannon projectiles might); whereas a fin-stabilized projectile, which does have aerodynamic stability, does not retain its stability without the pressure of air on its fins. At this point we’d say, “duh,” but we’re not sure the sort of academic who writes for the Small Arms Survey is following us. 
  2. There are very very few cases in which commonly available military rounds will be unstable in commonly available military rifles. There is no common military issue ammunition/rifle mismatch in 7.62 x 39 mm, 7.62 x 51 mm, or 7.62 x 54 mm that will be unstable and create wounds as this writer seems to think.
  3. Keyholing. 5.45 x 39 mm keyholing caused by a rifle improperly assembled (by Century) with an oversize barrel. From ARFCOM. Note that even the point-on lightweight rounds had a lousy dispersion.

    Keyholing. This is 5.45 x 39 mm keyholing caused by a rifle improperly assembled (by Century) with an oversize barrel. From ARFCOM. Note that even the point-on lightweight rounds had a lousy dispersion.

    This is also generally true for 5.56 mm and 5.45 mm ammo. One example of mismatch, and the one this genius may be thinking of, is NATO SS109 type ammo (like M855) in pre-1983 1:12 5.56 mm rifles like the M16 and Galil; at ranges of 50m+ these rounds are already beginning to keyhole. Keyholing is undesirable for accuracy purposes, but is complex from a wound-ballistics point of view. A keyholed round would be more seriously injurious because the round is more likely not to fully penetrate and therefore; however, a keyholing round has lost a great deal of its velocity and KE. At ranges beyond 100m, a round that was keyholing at 50 is very unlikely to hit a target deliberately.

  4. The inverse ammunition mismatch (i.e. M193 ammo in a newer 1:7 rifle) produces an overspun projectile and risks bullet disintegration inflight, but is not unstable. Most military projectiles have thick and solid enough jackets that there is zero probability that they would disintegrate; the phenomenon is sometimes seen with ultra-light varmint bullets in ultra-high velocity loads. Farmer John’s prairie-dog handloads are not what’s splitting skulls in the Congo these days.
  5. Either kind of 5.56 mismatch, which may be what the morongoloid who wrote those grafs was thinking of, will have no material effect on wound ballistics, as 30+ years of clinical data on wounds with these rounds would tell you.
  6. Far from grievous wounds being something novel, and a product of post-WWII small calibre high velocity weaponry, the sort of wound schrecklichkeit that so alarms the busybodies of Geneva has been alarming that type for 100 years. Of which rifle and which battle was this written? It “inflicted horrific wounds … and many who limped off the battlefield with bullet wounds died an agonizing, painful, slow death….” A: the .45-caliber .577/450 Martin-Henry, from the British victory at Rorke’s Drift during the Zulu War of 1879.

The final assertion, that the (asserted, but unproven, and even unsupported) growing “tendency to large bullet wounds” is a factor in an also asserted, but unsupported and unproven “increased lethality” which he says is “associated with widespread weapons availability.”

“Associated” is a red flag here. It’s not a scientist’s word, it’s the weasel word of a social-pseudoscientist who, lacking even bare correlation that he might misrepresent as causation, throws the hunch flag and calls it “association.” In other words, he began with an a priori idea and marshaled what little data he could find to support it — and all he’s got is “association.”

This made us curious about the individual who wrote the cited grafs, whom the ICRC was so anxious about disclaiming any connexion to. Turns out, he has been latterly at WHO. Based on his poor understanding of small arms, and the slipshod, pseudo-scientific methodology and argumentation in his work, we expected “Meddings” to be a social pseudoscientist somewhere, maybe a sociologist at a cow college. Imagine our surprise when we found the quotes came from this work:

Meddings, David. 2000. Factors Affecting Availability and Use. Background Paper. Geneva: Small Arms Survey.

Yep, the Small Arms Survey’s propaganda is quoting, while maintaining pseudo academic distance from … the Small Arms Survey’s own propagandist.

Sources

  1. Source of the quoted grafs.
  2. Another Small Arms Survey document identifying David Meddings as “David Meddings, Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention, World Health Organization.” Meddings is an extremely prolific author of this kind of tosh for the Small Arms Survey.

 

Gotta love the Media for recognizing real courage

New York TimesThe reporters of the New York Times — it took a small colony of them to assemble the administration leaks on two recent special ops into a story — have noted that special operations have risks. But there’s something peculiar about the risks they see:

The operation to capture Abu Anus was several weeks in the making, a United States official said, and President Obama was regularly briefed as the suspect was tracked in Tripoli. Mr. Obama had to approve the capture. He had often promised there would be “no boots on the ground” in Libya when the United States intervened there in March 2011, so the decision to send in Special Operations forces was a risky one.

See what they just did, there? Not a risk for the JSOC guys who grabbed Abu Anus. If a few of them get whacked, to quote another “United States Official”, “What difference does it make?” Their concern is risk for their secular manifestation of supreme godhead, His Excellency Field Marshal Al-Hadji Idi Amin Dada Barack Hussein Obama, President for Life.

We saw the same thing after the Bin Laden raid. Media figures, President Clinton, and President Obama himself all diminished the role of the actual raiders, and played up the heroism of the guy in DC.

By the way, the guys can hit targets in Libya or Sudan, but they can’t watch the baseball playoffs on AFN. That’s part of the 17% of the government that is actually shut down. Not AFN — where would the troops be without the “Time to stop beating your wife” PSAs? — just the sports playoffs.