Saturday, November 3, 2012

Around the blogs

Let's begin with my friend Oleg Volk.  A few weeks ago he wrote an interesting blog essay titled 'The mis-directed fetish of marksmanship', in which he examined the widely-held myth that marksmanship in and of itself can serve as the foundation for an effective militia or guerrilla organization.  It can't, of course, as any student of military history, strategy and tactics will readily attest.  (He's just followed that article with another, 'The Preferred Role of Guns in the Political Process', suggesting that their existence helps to keep the ballot box in play, rather than resorting to the cartridge box.  Those of us who've experienced prolonged, violent civil unrest will confirm that the first sort of box is greatly preferable to the second!)

His first article has led to many analyses and responses around the Internet - a quick search will bring up many of them.  I've been particularly interested in those posted by the author of the American Mercenary blog.  He's written no less than five (so far).  In sequence, they are:

  1. Marksmanship Matters
  2. Marksmanship Matters, the big picture
  3. 20 Million Deer hunters, guardians of freedom?
  4. Deer Hunters and Mao
  5. How much Organization?

All are interesting and thought-provoking expansions on Oleg's theme.  Having had extensive exposure to insurgency and counter-insurgency warfare, I can attest from experience that many of the author's points are entirely valid.  These and other articles at American Mercenary lead me to believe that the author has also 'been there and done that'.  Recommended.

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Firehand brings us two posts mentioning his son's dog's encounter with a skunk - terminal for the latter, and fragrant (?) for the family dwelling!  They reminded me of my own article about 'How (not) to hunt the skunk', published here on only my third day of blogging back in 2008.  The memory of that incident still makes me giggle!

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Hurricane Sandy has given rise to many articles in the blogosphere (including here).  Among those I found interesting were:

All make interesting reading.

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Bearing in mind next week's elections, Robb Allen waxes lyrical about a 'Primate Based Home & Life Management System'.  Here's an excerpt.

Now the first chimp I had was excellent at security. His poo flinging skills were, bar none, the best; nobody would dare step foot onto my yard.  However, when it came to my medical care, this chimp made some seriously poor choices, not to mention my financial situation was not in the best shape it could be, plus I noticed the strict diet of bananas and ticks had made me soft around the middle.

Like millions of other Americans, I decided to take control of the situation and when my 4 year contract with this chimp was up, decided to get another chimp to do the work (unfortunately, due to contractual obligations, I still have to pay for Chimp A’s retirement).

There's more at the link.  Amusing and topical.

Also of interest in this election season, Charles Hugh Smith points out that most efforts at reforming a dysfunctional political and/or economic system trigger lead, not to its reform, but to its collapse.

The dream of every conventional reform movement is to rid the system of its dysfunctional features while preserving the Status Quo.

But what the reformers don't understand is that the Status Quo is dysfunctional not because of bad policies or a few corrupt officials--it is corrupt and dysfunctional from the ground up.

Dismantle the dysfunctional parts and you've dismantled the entire Status Quo.

This is why it is so difficult for countries to reform their dysfunctional regimes.

. . .

Doesn't this apply not just to China but to Greece, Spain, Italy, the E.U. itself, the U.S., Japan and a host of other developed nations all depending on financial slight-of-hand "extend and pretend" to prop up the dysfunctional Status Quo?

Again, more at the link.  The whole article is well worth reading.

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The Adaptive Curmudgeon waxes lyrical about TV writers.  A sample:

Many years ago the media was atwitter about a strike of TV writers.  I remember joking that it’s like the neighbor’s dog formally announcing it will henceforth no longer crap on your doorstep without a cost of living increase.

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David McElroy describes an uncomfortable encounter with a strange, but very interesting man, which provided him with much food for thought.  His article did the same for me.  Recommended reading.

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Here's a 'blast from the past' - The Art Of Manliness reminds us of an article in Harper's Magazine dating back to 1933, titled 'What the Young Man Should Know'.  I can remember my father teaching me quite a lot of those lessons, or their British or Colonial equivalents.  I don't think most young men today have benefited from them . . . more's the pity, IMHO!

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Theo Spark brings us 'The Gospel According to St. Titleist'.  A couple of sample 'biblical texts':

  • Golf appeals to the idiot in us and the child. Just how childlike golf players become is proven by their frequent inability to count past five. John Updike
  • If profanity had any influence on the flight of the ball, the game of golf would be played far better than it is. Horace G. Hutchinson
  • They say golf is like life, but don't believe them. Golf is more complicated than that. Gardner Dickinson

There are more at the link.  I still say a golf course is an unconscionable waste of a perfectly good rifle range, so you can guess where my sympathies lie!

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Finally, Cafe Hayek links to what its reviewer describes as 'the best essay on health care, ever'.  The linked article is 25 pages long, in .PDF format, but for those interested in the field it's well worth reading.  I didn't agree with all the author's points, but he gave me a great deal of food for thought.

That's all for this week.  More links soon!



AM said...

Thanks for the link love. Pretty much every combat arms officer of my generation had a "crash course" in insurgency, counter-insurgency, stability operations, and nation building through formal and informal schooling. Unfortunately very little of it has been truly institutionalized for maintenance as a long term skillset for the regular Army.

acairfearann said...

Thanks for the links; I must say that an awful lot of comments relating to the American Mercenary articles reflect a lamentable lack of knowledge concerning world history relating to civil wars/insurgency and a lamentably strong belief in American exceptionalism. Do people really think the bullet box is more glorious and more likely to succeed than the ballot? They seem to...
Not that the bullet box won't's just its success is unlikely to be what people expected, if those people are still alive...

Anonymous said...

Re. "Expecting 20 million people to self organize into anything is, in my opinion, expecting a miracle."

Well, I was at Glenn Beck's 'Restoring Love' event volunteer day, and there were ~15,000 people there with little information and even less instruction. It was incredible to watch the crowd 'self-organize'; It reminded me of an infantry division with a General, a handful of other officers, and no NCO's - but within a half hour the group was ordered, organized and as soon as the busses were opened, they loaded and rolled. I can say without hesitation that intelligent and motivated people will astound you with their self-organizational ability.

AM said...


Who set up the event?
Who sent out information about the event? 15,000 people don't just show up.
Who ordered the buses?
Who paid for the buses?

There was a minimum level of organization required to make all of those things happen.

Anonymous said...

Oleg's post is closed for comment, but I think it's important to say this: we are putting ourselves at greater risk of being co-opted if we assume the "takeover" will be implemented by "The Left". It wasn't a Democratic president who "discovered Nigerian yellow cake uranium sold to Saddam, and it wasn't a Democrat who showed us evidence of "Weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq--which necessitated our invasion and takeover.

In the quest for power, Left and Right only differ in the details.


tweell said...

That's an interesting set of essays on insurgencies. There's one hole that I'm not seeing anyone bring up, though - the chance that the US military would allow itself to be used against US citizens. In my mind, that chance is very very low.

Folks, the active duty soldier is more conservative than the general population, and believes in the oath to uphold the Constitution. Yes, our troops are the most skilled and capable counter-insurgency force in the world, but also the least interested in using that at home.

That does not hold true for DHS, BATF, FBI, etc., but their chances against that 20 million are...

Will said...


I've just finished reading the 5 A/M blog posts. They are ok, as long as you don't read the comments that go with them. Then it falls apart. The farther you read, the worse AM begins to appear. His responses to anyone critical or questioning show a definite attitude problem. Might be ego. He's inconsistent, and attempts to keep him focused on his own statements is like trying to nail jello to a wall. He has several supporters that attack commentors with a similar attitude as his. They too seem to read more into comments than what is printed there. There are some really good people making comments there, and they are what kept me reading all the way through. There looks to be at least one more follow-up post, but I'm done reading his blog. Don't know if his attitude shows all the time, and I'm not interested in finding out. I've got a friend who talks like AM does. Very bright, well trained in tactical matters, and I would hate to be involved in that area with him, because his ego will get people killed. He can't deal with input from others, since he knows it all. That is the vibe I get from AM. Granted, it is a short exposure, and I could be wrong. But, once you get sensitized to that sort of thinking, it can seem pretty obvious.

Will said...


another thing that I found disturbing about AM was his constant pushing of commentors to write up a plan of attack against the .gov or mil.

If his blog was a militia meeting that I had somehow just wandered into, I would be pointing at him and saying "oh, you must be the FBI plant, since you are advocating violating conspiracy and treason laws".