The Empire Retreats

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Dec 26, 2011 - And the Bands Play On

I waste many hours highlighting fat in our military. Several years ago, I wrote about where to cut fat in the U.S. Marines. Here is part:

Eliminate 100 Bandsmen

     The Marine Corps has 12 active duty musical bands which require as much manpower as an infantry battalion.  The 4th Marine Division in the Marine Corps Reserves has only one unit fully manned with active duty personnel -- the marching band (below).  While Generals love bands for parades and dinner parties, bandsmen are disliked by other Marines who view them as a waste of resources.  They also resent that bandsmen travel and attend parties while receiving the same pay and benefits as Marines in the operating forces. 

     Bands are very expensive for the very minor help they provide for recruiting and public relations.  Musical bands were a big attraction in the days before television and big sports events, but today's teenagers express no excitement when a Marine band comes to town.  Americans are more impressed when combat Marines appear at events to show off weaponry.  Bandsman fend off criticism by claiming they help provide rear area security.  Yet every Marine helps provide security, and only half the bands belong to deployable units.  The Marine Corps needs more grunts so two of the Corps' 12 bands should be eliminated. 

     The band in New Orleans for the reserve division should go.  If war occurs and the 4th Division is mobilized, it can borrow the Marine band from 29 Palms, which could become the official band for the 4th Division.  The band at the Marine Corps Logistics base at Albany, Georgia should also be eliminated.  No one knows how this small base ended up with a band.  There are no operating forces near New Orleans or Albany, so they have no need for bands.  Cutting two of the Corps 12 bands is minor, yet will free up 100 Marines for grunt duty.

So I was delighted to read this recent article that the Marines will eliminate two bands. 

Dec 24, 2011 - Advanced American Missiles Shipped to China?

The American media and Congress have been silent about this bizarre event reported by the BBC:

Finland 'finds Patriot missiles' on China-bound ship

The Thor Liberty is docked in Kotka.

Interior Minister Paivi Rasanen said the missiles were marked "fireworks". The MS Thor Liberty had docked in the Finnish port of Kotka after leaving Germany last week. Dock workers became suspicious after finding explosives poorly stored on open pallets, and the missiles were then found in containers marked "fireworks".

The managing director of the ship's owner, Thorco Shipping, expressed surprise. Thomas Mikkelsen told AFP news agency from Denmark that he was unaware of the matter. Another company official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the ship had been detained in Finland and said the missiles could have been loaded on to the vessel by mistake, AFP adds.

Police did not confirm Finnish media reports that the ship had also been scheduled to stop in South Korea, Reuters news agency reports. 'Quite unusual'. The MS Thor Liberty left port in Emden, northern Germany, on 13 December and docked two days later in Kotka, southern Finland, to pick up a cargo of anchor chains, said Finnish Customs spokesman Petri Lounatmaa.

Patriot missile systems are supplied to US allies. It was bound for the Chinese port of Shanghai but there was no indication for whom the military cargo was destined. Routine checks by Finland's traffic safety authority revealed a load of up to 160 tonnes of improperly packed nitroguanidine, a low-sensitivity explosive with a high detonation speed.

"Actually in our investigation at the moment, we have got the information that we found 69 Patriot missiles on the ship and around 160 tonnes of explosives," said Detective Superintendent Timo Virtanen from the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation. Interior Minister Rasanen said she had not heard of a similar case. "Of course, there are legal transports of weapons or defence material [through Finland] but in this case the cargo was marked as containing fireworks," she told Finnish media. "That is quite unusual."

Mr Lounatmaa said customs officials and police had launched a joint investigation into a possible breach of Finnish export and weapons trading laws. He said that the crew of about 32 were being questioned. Patriot missiles, designed by the US company Raytheon, are supplied to "US and allied forces", according to the company's website. South Korea is among states which deploy them.

Dec 18, 2011 - Military Statistics

For oddballs who want facts about America's military personnel, it's hard to find them on the Internet. The DoD hides them at this link, broken down by service, rank, gender, and location. POGO studied these figures and discovered that the Pentagon added 99 General officers since 9-11, and claims that retiring Defense secretary Gates had cut the numbers of Generals were false. The Pentagon had eliminated several General officer positions, but gradually restored them a few weeks later, and added six new General slots.

For those who want to know exactly how much is spent on every program and every weapon, the hard dollar numbers are here. When reporters contact me about the V-22 program costs, asking why I list much higher figures than the "experts" at Bell, Boeing, and Headquarters Marine Corps, I provide that link. That is the official, THE OFFICIAL, tally from the Pentagon itself! Every "reporter' has been afraid to challenge their "expert" sources, who provide confusing "spreadsheets" to explain their low figures. They refuse to report that Generals and Colonels blatantly lie about outrageous costs, and quote their documented lies as facts, even after looking at the Pentagon comptroller's official numbers.

Dec 12, 2011 - Political Racehorses

As you watch the bizarre GOP presidential campaign, note how the media controls events. Daily stories of Herman Cain's infidelity led to his downfall. Suddenly, Newt Gingrich surged ahead in their polls, with no explanation. What few reported is that Gingrich's philandering was worse than Cain. Perhaps Cain cheated on his wife, but he never dumped her. Gingrich cheated on his wife, then dumped her and married a much younger babe. Several years later, he did the same thing to his second wife. So why all the attention to Cain's womanizing and almost none to Gingrich?

And what about Vietnam draft dodging? You may recall that Bill Clinton's draft evasion was daily news when he ran for President. Gingrich obtained several draft deferments, but our media doesn't seem to care. It is obvious that Cain was just a racehorse backed by a billionaire. He rose from nowhere with lots of campaign money as a puppet to fool the working class. He showed that a poor, black man can succeed in America. And his jobs program: "Get a job you lazy bum." This is an old spin in which the unemployed are told its their fault they don't have jobs, evidenced by all the other people working. An example of this fallacy would be a small town with 100 jobs and 200 people seeking a job. When the 200 unemployed complain, the powerbrokers tell them its their own fault, and give examples of some of the working people in town as proof that there are jobs. In today's elections, neither party has a serious proposal to deal with America's ever increasing number of unemployed.

Dec 7, 2011 - Tigers Flying Before Pearl Harbor

For those who still believe the myth that Pearl Harbor was a "surprise" and "unprovoked" attack, read about the "Flying Tigers." During the Summer of 1941, President Roosevelt sent 100 American fighter aircraft and 300 American pilots and mechanics to China to fight the Japs. Perhaps the Japanese viewed that as hostile.

Dec 3, 2011 - The People's History of the United States

I just finished this classic, first published in 1980, by a "liberal" former World War II bombardier.  Anyone who speaks out against war in the USA is a "liberal". It's a long book and delves into some dry topics, but also has gems. It's probably the best "alternative" i.e. real history of the USA. Despite his left-wing label, Howard Zinn relates many stories of new immigrants hauled in by corporations to drive down wages or replace strikers. The cause of most strikes was because a rich kid took over a profitable corporation and decided to boost profits by slashing already minimal wages.

This continues to this day, as our major corporations run our national government with sponsored puppet "elected" leaders in Washington D.C. who make little effort to secure our borders or enforce employment laws. Some effort is made to placate voters, but the overall system is a joke. You never hear anyone on corporate television suggest that allowing millions of illegal workers in this nation has displaced millions of working Americans. Instead, you read stories of lazy Americans who are unable to do the jobs of Mexican supermen. Greedy American businessmen love desperate, hungry, illegals who fear arrest should they complain. Here is a current example of wealthy "farmers", who inherited millions of dollars in farmland, fighting to preserve their modern-day system of plantation slavery, using a "respected" corporate newspaper to spread their lies. The truth is that if they need more farm hands, they must offer a livable wage, an eight-hour workday, and a 10-minute break every hour. But that would hurt profits, and kill their plans for buying a second yacht.

Given our current economic depression, page 634 of Zinn's book is of interest: 

"With such continuing malaise, it is very important for the Establishment--that uneasy club of business executives, generals, and politicos--to maintain the historic pretension of national unity, in which the government represents all the people, and the common enemy is overseas, not at home, where disasters of economics or war are unfortunate errors or tragic accidents, to be corrected by the members of the same club that brought the disasters. It is important for them also to make sure this artificial unity of highly privileged [multi-millionaires thru inheritance or racketeering] and slightly privileged [congressmen, judges, CEOs, military officers, and most government employees] is the only unity-- that the 99 percent remain split in countless ways, and turn against one another to vent their angers."

You see this today. The "Tea Partiers" and the "Occupy Wall Streeters" both want an honest government helping American workers. Yet corporate television pretends the two groups oppose each other, telling their captive audience that tea partiers are "right wing" and occupiers are "left-wing", in carefully crafted "news" reports that fool everyone. You end up with bewildered middle class Americans supporting Medicare cuts, a tax system where billionaires pay a much lower rate than working people, and another disastrous amnesty for illegal workers. Soon we will be told that we must accept this lower standard of living and unite to devote a trillion dollars to fight evil Iran.

Nov 25, 2011 - Syria - The Next Domino

As the U.S. military semi-covertly supports another CIA/Mossad coup, I recall something former NATO Commander and retired four-star U.S. Army General Wesley Clark wrote in his 2003 book: "Winning Modern Wars"

"As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan." 

Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan have now been conquered. You may recall that Somalia was invaded by American equipped and "advised" Ethiopian troops who took over that nation's capital. The USA maintains a small camp at the airport where Americans coordinate occasional airstrikes against warlords who continue to rule most of Somalia. The USA used African peacekeepers to invade Sudan, and helped break off South Sudan into a separate nation. Is all this just a coincidence? Or, is there a secret group in charge of American foreign policy that has long-term plans to dominate the entire world?

It may prove difficult to topple Syria, an effort that began two months ago. After that, Lebanon is next. The last and most difficult conquest will be Iran, which may send the world into oil shortage chaos. Meanwhile, keeping pro-western puppet dictators in place in Bahrain, Yemen, and Egypt is difficult.

Nov 19, 2011 - Rampant Corruption in Congress

I often write that legal corruption is the greatest threat to America. This short article provides a great overview: How to steal like Wall Street. And that was written by a writer for the Wall Street Journal and appeared on Marketwatch! An expose on massive corruption, and nothing will be done. I'm waiting for the European bond scandal to sink more Wall Street firms, or require another taxpayer bailout. In case you haven't heard, a major firm MF Global just went bankrupt after losing billions of investor/sucker dollars while gambling in Europe.

In one of my articles at Sanders, I proposed that when a company files bankruptcy, any pay or bonuses of more than $400,000 during four years previous to the date of filing would have to be refunded to the company. There are countless tales of companies going bankrupt after a single risky market bet, yet those who made the bet walked away with millions of dollars in pay and bonuses from previous risky bets. Sometimes bonuses were paid while the bankruptcy filing was being prepared! 

Nov 18, 2011 - Closet American Nazis

Notice the double talk of so-called Americans who advocate torture, which include many presidential candidates. They insist that "waterboarding" is not torture, even though all the experts say it's torture, include Senator John McCain. Then they say it should only be used in extreme circumstances. Why? If it's not torture, why not use it for every occasion? If a bicycle is stolen, and you have a suspect, why not waterboard him to find the bike? If it's effective, and not torture, so why not use it all the time? If our TV interviewers would pursue that logic, these Nazis would retreat back into their closet.

Nov 17, 2011 - Our Empire Wants to Expand

Details on a multi-billion dollar fraud that has yet to make the news:

Halt Plans for New European Bases - in Poland and Romania

Nov 15, 2011 - Tactical Lessons from the Vietnam War

Over the past few months, I've been reading about the Vietnam war, trying to learn why American officers screwed up so often. I recalled something my late friend Col. David Hackworth wrote in his great book "About Face." He was often shocked and angered to see officers send their men across open ground in a Civil war era "skirmishers line", like a walking football kickoff team. That was still taught back in the states, and some commanders would say they used it all the time. Hackworth would tell them that it worked 99% of the time, when the enemy is just a few scouts or chose to flee. However, one day they will run into a hundred of the enemy who will not flee, and the American force will be destroyed in a turkey shoot. He said they must use the terrain to shield their movement, or when there is no other choice, they must send a couple scouts across to have a look. 

Several of the Lost Battles of the Vietnam War began as company-size units walked across open areas to their death. The NVA or VC knew to wait and open fire at 20-40 meters. When that occurred, the unit was pinned down and could not withdraw with their wounded, since standing up at close range was sure death. In addition, they could not call in artillery or airstrikes on the enemy that close to their own troops. Other units would rush forward to help, only to suffer as well since they had to advance across the open ground without supporting fires. They usually tried to flank the enemy, but the NVA/VC had planned this battle for weeks, and knew the route an enveloping unit would take, or which LZ a helicopter borne unit would choose, and set up an ambush there. Finally, they always had an exit strategy, and slipped away and dispersed before surrounded.

You might think the Americans learned over time, but personnel spent just a one-year tour in Vietnam, while officers spent just six months in command followed by six months in a non-combat slot. During their six-months in command, they were anxious to find and destroy the enemy, using aggressive tactics the Army and Marine Corps traditionally praise. This is why they lost many battles.

The NVA/VC also learned to use well planned ambushes near American bases. Attempts to breach well-prepared defensive positions nearly always failed with heavy losses. The Americans had cleared fields of fire, laid minefields and concertina wire. Machine guns, mortars, and artillery were set in protected areas with plenty of ammo. As a result, the NVA/VC  would feign weakness to lure the Americans outside the wire. One tactic was to build a deep bunker for a mortar or rocket team who would occasionally go outside and fire a few into the base, then run inside before the counterfires hit them. Few rounds would hit anything of value on the base, but some lucky shots would kill a few Americans or destroy something. The base commander would decide to send a force outside the wire to find and destroy the annoying team. They often walked into a well planned ambush. A similar tactic was to position an anti-aircraft gun to take long shots at helicopters landing at the base, and wait for the GIs to come outside the wire.

The other tactic was the silent treatment. Keep everyone out of sight like no one was around. Bored and curious officers would decide their were no NVA/VC in the area, and send out a patrol to look around. In many cases, GIs fell for the "follow me" ambush game. A couple VC scouts would open fire and run. The aggressive Americans would purse them, right into an ambush.

I just added six more lost battles to my list:

Battle of Xa Cam My - A battalion from the 1st Infantry Division conducted another "search and destroy" sweep. Its three companies were deployed miles apart in hopes the NVA would attack one. The NVA ambushed, surrounded, and blasted Charlie company, killing 38 and wounding 71 of its 134 soldiers before its other two companies came to the rescue.

Battle of No Goi Island - The Viet Cong liked to fortify ambush sites and wait for the Americans to discover them. During Operation Allen Brook, three battalions of Marines swept through No Goi Island and found lots of Viet Cong ready to fight from bunkers near the village of Le Bac. During several days of bloody assaults, the Marines suffered 138 killed and 686 wounded (576 seriously) before the surviving Viet Cong fled. The extreme heat resulted in another 283 Marines evacuated due to heat stroke. Having suffered 50% causalities, Allen Brook was halted until fresh Marine units arrived.

Operation Paul Revere IV - Two cavalry battalions swept the Cambodian border area in search of the enemy. None were found, until Company C ran into a large force near Duc Co. Details are scarce, but two platoons were overrun and destroyed; only one soldier survived. The American dead were so numerous that they were hauled away in external cargo nets by helicopters.

Battle of Cu Nghi - As the 7th Cavalry began Operation Masher, a CH-47 helicopter was shot down. A company of soldiers was flown to the rescue, but they were shot up and pinned down. More units hastily arrived and found two battalions of entrenched NVA fighters firing away at troopers scattered around an area that became known as "the graveyard." Several helicopters where shot down during this three-day melee that left 140 Americans dead and 220 wounded.

Battle near Ap Bac - The U.S. Army's 9th Infantry Division operated in the marshy delta region of southern Vietnam, often with Navy river patrol boats. During a routine battalion sweep, Alpha company from the 2nd Brigade crossed an open rice paddy and encountered Viet Cong ready to fight from concrete bunkers. Most of the company was wiped out in the first five minutes, and rest pinned down in the kill zone for hours until other companies arrived. This battle left 40 American dead and 140 wounded.

Battle near FSB Professional - The NVA shot down a big CH-47 helicopter as it delivered supplies to this fire support base. Company A of the Army's 1/46 Infantry with 91 soldiers was sent outside the wire to eliminate the threat. It was mauled during a 35-hour battle, and its 47 surviving soldiers fled, leaving their dead and some wounded behind.

Nov 14, 2011 - The Joints Chiefs of Staff Wiretapped President Nixon

Our corporate media tries to ignore real news, but Fox News fouled up when it reported that our military's senior Generals used military aides to spy on President Nixon and his staff. I suspect this continues to this day. This supports the theory that "Watergate" was a CIA/Pentagon plot to oust Nixon.

Nov 13, 2011 - Crafty Police

A police officer friend told me of a tactic he uses to deal with petty drug dealing. If he gets a tip, that is rarely a cause for search warrant and raid team. Its easier to just bang on the door shouting "police, open up" and listen for a toilet flushing down the dealer's valuable drugs. If someone answers, he asks if "John Williams" lives there, and goes back on patrol.

Another tactic I read about is how to catch suspects with arrest warrants. The wanted don't carry ID, or refuse to produce it if asked. Officers may get into trouble should they wrestle down an innocent person looking for an ID.  If they think someone looks like "Robert Malone" they approach him and claim they have a warrant to arrest him "John Davis." Mr. Malone will insist that he is not John Davis, and produce an ID to prove it, or state his name and date of birth to prove it. Then the officer says, "Oh, I have a warrant for you too!"

Nov 11, 2011 - Happy Government Employees Day

One of G2mil's most popular articles: "Veterans Day Holiday only for Vets" explains that most veterans work on Veterans day, while most government employees get the day off. If Congress wants to improve its reputation and the nation, it should correct that injustice and fix these others:

1. Change the name of Columbus Day. He was no hero, not an American, and did not discover America. Change it to "Explorers Day" and celebrate people like Lewis and Clark and the Apollo astronauts. 

2. Move Thanksgiving to Friday. Thursday makes no sense, and is no real tradition. Some make it a four-day weekend, but the weather is bad in most the nation.

3. In place of Veterans Day, put a holiday in the three month holiday gap between President's Day and Memorial Day. Good Friday fits right in between, the weather is nice, and its already a holiday in ten states. Most Christians would love the idea. Yes its religious, but so is Christmas. Call it "Spring Day" if you wish. Veterans Day could remain a holiday - for veterans.

Nov 7, 2011 - Keystone XL Pipeline

If a pipeline connected Canadian oil fields with America's refineries along the Gulf of Mexico, gasoline prices would fall in the USA. Oil pipelines cross all over the USA, so why are "environmentalists" so upset by this one? The only logical answer is that big oil companies are secretly funding this anti-pipeline campaign through their faux "environment" groups who fools many naive citizens. The same game is played by the coal industry to block new hydroelectric dams

Nov 6, 2011 - Rice Lies

I recently saw engaging Condoleezza Rice on several television shows repeating outrageous lies about our invasion of Iraq and calling for war against Iran. There is a rumor that an Iranian scientist worked on a computer model for nuclear weapons. Yes, we must kill them all! I've always considered an Iranian attack unthinkable with our troops strung out and vulnerable all over Iraq. But once they are out of harms way on Dec 31, Obama may launch an attack. 

Starting a major war is SOP whenever our nation suffers from economic depression and riots begin. Citizens are told to shut up and support the troops. If we don't attack Iran, it will be interesting to see if U.S. troops return to Iraq once our puppet government is threatened, or cuts its puppet strings. 

Nov 2, 2011 - An American Now Runs Libya

If you recall my earlier blogs, it is obvious that the "revolution" in Libya was a CIA/NATO coup to return that nation to its proper status as an oil colony. Now that "we" won, we might as well put an American in charge. Yes, a U.S. citizen is the new Libyan prime minster.

Oct 30, 2011 - Another Worthless Base

Why Does Camp Bondsteel Still Exist? - an outpost in Kosovo

My overseas base closure effort is gathering support. Congress and the Pentagon say some will close.

Oct 22, 2011 - Now 44 Lost Battles

Yes, I have eight more. I got caught up in the research. My latest effort was to read Medal of Honor citations, which provide leads. I think I've made my point, that some battles were lost in Vietnam, and I need to move on to more positive efforts. Its depressing to read about all these young Americans slaughtered in that pointless effort.

Battle of Dong Xoai - Soon after American combat brigades arrived in South Vietnam, the NVA attacked a large, strategic base defended by ARVN units supported by American Special Forces and airpower. The base was overrun with hundreds of casualties while two dozen Americans died in combat and helicopter crashes, with even more wounded or missing.

Battle of Prek Klok - During Operation Junction City, Company B from the 1st Battalion/16th Infantry went in search of the NVA. Independent accounts cannot be found, yet the Army's official history notes the company was blasted and nearly surrounded until rescued when another company came to its aid, allowing it to retreat. Company B was extracted by helicopter after suffering 25 dead and 28 wounded. Army Generals declared victory and awarded the company commander a silver star.

Battle near Vinh Huy - During Operation Union II, six rifle companies from the 5th Marines swept the Que Son Valley in search of the enemy. They located a large enemy force 1000 yards ahead across an open rice paddy. After some air and artillery strikes, three companies were ordered to charge across the open ground, and were shot to pieces. The bloodied Marines fell back during this June 2, 1967 battle that left 71 KIA and 139 wounded.

Battle of Plei Trap - During Operation Wayne Grey, 115 soldiers from Alpha Company of the 4th Infantry Division helicoptered into a remote area in search of the NVA. They found lots of them, and suffered 35 KIA, 51 WIA, and 7 MIA as they were overrun. A lieutenant who heroically led a retreat of the survivors was almost court-martialed by senior officers trying to cover-up this disaster.

Battle for LZ Loon - The Marines landed on Hill 672 to build an artillery fire support base. The NVA objected, and sent a battalion to attack the two undermanned companies from the 4th Marines. After a day of heavy fighting that included NVA artillery fire, half the Marines were casualties. It was decided to abandon the hill by helicopter, leaving most of the dead behind. One helicopter was shot down during the extraction after this battle that left 41 Marines dead and over 100 wounded.

Attack on Marble Mountain - Some 90 Viet Cong sappers infiltrated this huge Marine Corps airfield and destroyed 19 helicopters and damaged 35 (11 of them severely). After the 30-minute rampage the Viet Cong withdrew, leaving behind 17 dead and 4 wounded. American casualties were 3 killed and 91 wounded.

Task Force Black Mauled - Half of the 1st Battalion/501st Regiment/173rd Airborne Brigade went in search for the NVA who had recently attacked their base. They ran into two NVA battalions, who shot them up from three directions. The rest of the battalion was sent to save them, and withdrew with 20 dead, 154 wounded, and two missing.

Attack on FSB Henderson - As American troops withdrew from Vietnam, NVA sappers attacked this artillery base. They charged through the hilltop killing 27 soldiers from the 101st division and wounding 40. Most of the howitzers and artillery ammunition were destroyed by satchel charges before the NVA disappeared into the night.

Wild exaggerations of enemy causalities were common in Vietnam. Note this passage from a book about one battle, where a captain's high estimate was not enough for his colonel: "The commanding officer of Task Force Black, Captain Thomas McElwain, reported an enemy body count of 80 but was commanded by Schumacher (whose conduct of the action later came under severe criticism) to go out and count again. He then reported back that 175 PAVN soldiers had been killed. He later stated: "If you lost so many people killed and wounded, you had to have something to show for it."

Oct 15, 2011 - Gary Johnson for President?

You probably haven't heard of this Republican candidate because the corporate media has been ordered to minimize him, even though he is a former two-term governor from New Mexico who recently left office with a balanced state budget. He is a rags to riches successful millionaire, in contrast to most other candidates who inherited their wealth. However, he stands out on two major issues that are verboten. He states the drug war is a huge failure, and we need to stop throwing drug users in prison and decriminalize marijuana. He also wants to slash military spending and bring the troops home. These positions are similar to those of Ron Paul, but Johnson is younger and an athlete. Gary Johnson could easily beat President Obama, but is not part of the Power Elite and refuses to "play ball", so they ignore him.

Oct 14, 2011 - Close the Army's Garmisch Resort

The latest added to my Overseas Base Closure ListClose USAG Garmisch - a hidden resort

Oct 9, 2011 - Four More Lost Battles

My Vietnam history research continues, but is difficult because lost battles are rarely described as losses, but incidents where large numbers of Americans died. I never realized that so many large battles occurred along the DMZ. It wasn't a guerilla war, but an odd situation where large NVA units slipped across the border to ambush or attack American units and outposts. They were usually spotted by American airpower or reconnaissance patrols and blasted with airpower and artillery. In other cases, they ambushed or attacked American units and killed many. 

The NVA expected heavy casualties, so when they lost half their men they moved back across the DMZ for several months to rest and absorb replacements before another foray. The only solution to this mess was to invade North Vietnam, but everyone remembered what happened when American forces invaded North Korea in 1950 -- the Chinese stormed across. No one wanted to face that mess, so this DMZ game went on. As John Paul Vann explained during the war, some 500,000 North Vietnamese males turned 18 each year, so the killing 70,000 NVA soldiers a year with a 10:1 kill ratio had little effect, but the 7000 Americans KIA each year was intolerable back in the USA. 

Some have called the entire 1968 Khe Sahn series of battles a defeat since the U.S. military eventually withdrew under fire. In hindsight, it was a poor strategy, but given the thousands of NVA killed in these battles, I can't note Khe Sahn as  defeat since it was intentionally abandoned. However, there were Khe Sahn battles lost, as my latest additions attest. Once again, this list of 36 lost battles is not meant to demean brave members of the U.S. military, but political spinmasters who think war is a fun adventure with little chance of injury. Here are my latest additions:

Convoy Ambush near An Khe - In Sept 1967, 39 trucks from the U.S. Army's 8th Transportation Group were returning home after delivering supplies to Plekiu. They were escorted by two gun jeeps in an area considered mostly secure by the presence of the 1st Calvary Division. A Viet Cong company ambushed this big convoy in broad daylight. Seven Americans were killed, 17 wounded, and 30 vehicles were damaged or destroyed. The VC quickly disappeared and no evidence of enemy casualties were found. 

Khe Sahn Village Overrun - A large village three kilometers from the famous Khe Sahn military base was defended by 160 local troops, plus 15 American advisors and heavy artillery from the base. In January 1968, it was attacked by a ~300-man NVA battalion. Reinforcements were dispatched aboard nine UH-1 helicopters, but were wiped out after landing near the NVA, along with one helicopter. A small ground rescue force from the nearby base was repulsed, while the survivors from the village assault fled to the Khe Sahn base.

Ambush near Khe Sahn - On Feb 25, 1968, a 41-man platoon from the 26th Marines was sent on a short patrol "outside the wire" to test the strength of NVA units near Khe Sahn village. They pursed three VC scouts who led them into an ambush. The platoon was wiped out during a three-hour battle that left 31 Marines KIA, one taken prisoner, while nine Marines escaped back to their base.

Battle near Hill 689 - On April 16, 1968 a Marine Corps company began a patrol near its Khe Sahn base. It wandered into tall vegetation and was decimated by concealed NVA soldiers in bunkers. Two more companies from 1st Battalion, 9th Marines were dispatched to save them, but they became ensnarled in this confusing battle in which dead and wounded Marines were left behind as the battalion retreated back to Khe Sahn in disarray. This resulted in 41 KIA, 32 wounded, with 2 of 15 MIAs later rescued by helicopters. The battalion commander was relieved of duty.

Oct 8, 2011 - Secret Weapons of World War II

Most military people think the Soviets developed the revolutionary AK-47 assault rifle, but it's mostly a copy of the German StG44 assault rifle (right) that appeared in late 1944. Assault rifles are automatic rifles that fire rifle ammunition, rather than short-range pistol ammunition used by submachine guns. There is a story of Hitler visiting the Russian front in 1945 where he asked his Generals which of the the new weaponry they needed most. He was surprised when they said the StG44 assault rifle.

Oct 7, 2011 - Steve Jobs Was an Arab?

I just learned that Steve Jobs biological father is from Syria: Abdulfattah John Jandali. Jobs never graduated from college. His greatest statement is that most people, like Bill Gates, lack diverse life experiences. They can never connect the dots because they can't see most of them.

Oct 3, 2011 - Wow, Aliens are Here!

I came across a recent speech by a former Canadian Minister of Defense, who tells of alien encounters and a secret government. He's 87 years old, so perhaps he's lost his mind, or doesn't care if he gets assassinated. Watch this short, thoughtful speech: Paul Hellyer Sounds Off

Whatever you think, you must agree that our "competitive" 24-hour corporate news networks should devote hours to this revealing and interesting news to boost ratings, rather than the latest local murder case. It is obvious that their bosses know that "UFO" news is not fit to print.

Sep 29, 2011 - Now 32 Lost Battles

Attack on Camp Holloway - In 1962, the U.S. Army established an airfield near Pleiku in central South Vietnam, which grew to include a large advisory group. In early 1965, some 300 Viet Cong slipped past ARVN guards and swept through the camp killing 8 Americans, wounding 126, destroying 10 aircraft and damaging 15 more. The Viet Cong withdrew to avoid battling reinforcements, with few losses.

Operation Swift - U.S. Marines fought tough battles along the DMZ when NVA units moved across the border to inflict heavy causalities. Marine Generals sent rifle companies with ~140 Marines to search for and destroy the NVA intruders with artillery and airpower. This was effective, but larger NVA units sometimes trapped them in kill zones. In September 1967, they ambushed two Marine companies in the Que Son Valley. Operation Swift was launched to save them from destruction, but the two companies sent to the rescue were mauled. The end result was 127 Marines killed and 362 wounded. The NVA suffered more casualties, but accomplished their mission and withdrew northward.

Sep 26, 2011 - Spooks in Congress

Here one of my old articles from Sanders Research:

     Many Americans grumble that the U.S. Congress lacks the courage to exert its constitutional role by challenging abuses of the Bush administration. They may be interested in knowing how Congressmen are selected before they are elected. Even before party primaries begin, powerful groups select their favorites and back them with money and media support. One of the most powerful groups in the USA is the "intelligence community" that operates from secret budgets estimated at $44 billion a year. One must assume that they might use their influence and money to insert spooks into Congress to serve their needs.

This has already happened, as this debate in the halls of Congress revealed:

Congressional Record: June 23, 2004

WASHINGTON, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 2004 House of Representatives

[Excerpt from Page H4866]

     Mr. SIMMONS. Mr. Chairman, I yield 1 minute to my friend and distinguished colleague, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Kirk), who is also a naval intelligence officer.

     Mr. KIRK. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Simmons amendment. Unlike some other amendments in this bill that are offered for partisan advantage, this amendment is offered by a former CIA officer with detailed knowledge of how the U.S. intelligence community works. To my knowledge, there are only three current Members of Congress who work with the CIA: our chairman, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Goss), the author of this amendment; the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Simmons); and me, who is detailed to the CIA from navy intelligence.

     To clarify this exchange, former CIA officer Congressmen Robert Simmons (R-CT) tells the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, former CIA officer Congressmen Porter Goss (R-FL), that he would like to yield one minute to CIA agent Congressmen Mark Kirk (R-IL). Kirk rose to support an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 to allow CIA agents access to "open records" of Americans; e.g. telephone call records, bank and credit card records, and airline travel records. Since CIA agents never really retire, is it just a coincidence when three CIA agents help give the CIA greater legal snooping authority?

      Congressmen Simmons' political career is not unusual, having served as a member of the Connecticut General Assembly for 10 years. However, Simmons won election to Congress in a mostly Democratic state. Moreover, he began the campaign with little name recognition outside his New London area-based district, and was considered a long shot since beating an incumbent in Congress is considered nearly impossible. He retained close ties to the CIA after his short ten- year "career," having also served as an Army intelligence officer, the senior staffer on the Senate Intelligence committee, which oversees CIA activities, and later taught classes on military intelligence at Yale.

      Congressmen Porter Goss graduated from Yale, served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army, and then became a CIA clandestine services officer. Ten years later, he retired early due to illness and moved to Florida to accept an appointment to fill a vacant spot as a county commissioner. No one has ever explained why the Democratic Governor of Florida at the time, Bob Graham, appointed an "ill" Republican from Connecticut with no local government experience to a county position in south Florida. Goss somehow accumulated a lot of money to run for Congress, was elected and eventually became chairman of the House Intelligence committee, which oversees CIA activities. His counterpart in the US Senate is Bob Graham, the man who gave the sickly Goss his Florida appointment and later became a senator, and is now chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. According to Carl Hulse of the New York Times in his 2-17-02 article, Goss and Graham were together on the morning of the 9-11 terror attack, meeting with the chief of the Pakistani intelligence service, whom they had met while traveling together to the region a few weeks earlier.

     Congressmen Mark Kirk is a recent spook elected to Congress in 2000. He had not revealed to Illinois voters that he was involved in clandestine operations with the CIA. Before the CIA was formed in 1947, most foreign espionage was performed by Naval Intelligence, which continues such activities today. SRA readers may recall John Laughland's article about the 1999 coup attempt in Yugoslavia where US agents supported the KLA terrorist group to overthrow the democratically elected Slobodan Miloševic, because he refused to open up his nation to western corporate operations. Reporter Tim Marshall quoted naval intelligence officer Mark Kirk as saying: 

"Eventually we opened up a huge operation against Miloševic, both secret and open. The secret part of the operation involved not only things like stuffing the various observer missions which were sent into Kosovo with officers from the British and American intelligence services, but also giving military, technical, financial, logistical and political support to the KLA," which as Marshall himself admitted, "smuggled drugs, ran prostitution rackets and murdered civilians."

     Kirk's exact role is unknown, although important enough to earn him the award for US Naval intelligence officer of the year in 1999. The next year he was elected to represent Illinois' 10th district in Congress. This was surprising because Kirk's bio shows him jumping among different political jobs every year while spending much time on active-duty in the Navy in places like Panama and Haiti. He hadn't lived in the state of Illinois since his high school days some 23 years prior. He never held any elected office and never worked in Illinois. He had no local name recognition until he somehow attracted large sums of money to run for Congress. Did the Republicans in the 10th District of Illinois select Mark Kirk to represent them because no local Republicans were capable, or were they told to rubberstamp Kirk for Congress by countless advertisements.

     Someone noted Kirk's 2004 revelation in the halls of Congress that he works for the CIA and tipped a newspaper in his congressional district. Kirk's Democratic opponent in 2004, Lee Goodman, complained that Kirk's employment by the CIA while serving in Congress is unethical and illegal. When questioned about the matter by a reporter for the Waukegan News Sun newspaper, Kirk said the Congressional Record was wrong. Kirk said that although he used to work for the CIA while he was also working for the U.S. State Department, he no longer works for the spy agency. Lee Goodman, who lived in the 10th district all his life, offered his thoughts: "If a Congressman has been secretly working for the CIA, the whole country has a right to know about it. Congress is supposed to be overseeing the CIA. Not the other way around."

     Mark Kirk is not concerned about lawsuits because his wife, a former naval intelligence officer, is now a lawyer working in the CIA's general counsel office in Washington DC. Meanwhile, there are no Congressional investigations into the CIA's 9-11 failures, no investigations into CIA torture prisons, and no investigations into
secret CIA "extraordinary renditions" where suspects are snatched off the streets and flown to friendly dictatorships for painful questioning. It concerns few in Congress that Italy has issued European arrest warrants for 22 CIA agents for kidnapping. There are billions of dollars in cash that have been "lost" in Iraq during CIA operations, and few in Congress care. Is this because congressmen are afraid of the CIA? Are their campaigns funded indirectly by the CIA? Has the CIA blackmailed most congressmen? Don't expect the corporate press to ask these questions, because they may find the answers unfit to print.


Update: Mark Kirk recently became a U.S. Senator.

Sep 20, 2011 - More Lost Battles

I've become intrigued by my list of "Lost Battles of the Vietnam War" effort. I recall a Marine Corps Sergeant Major telling us two decades ago that there were several battles where entire companies of Marines (100-150 men) were wiped out in Vietnam. I had followed the war in the news and read several books, but never heard about American forces suffering defeats, until Col. David Hackworth mentioned lost battles in his great book "About Face." When the "we never a lost a battle in Vietnam" line sprung up to justify an endless war of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, I decided to perform research and document a few lost battles. This list has slowly mushroomed to 30 lost battles as more information is unofficially declassified via the Internet. These two were just added:

1. Battle at the Ben Cui Rubber Plantation - American mechanized units had the firepower and mobility to rout any NVA force. An exception occurred in 1968 during a routine road sweep when Company C, 1st Bn (Mech) 25th Division ran into an aggressive NVA regiment. It quickly lost 5 APCs (right), with 17 killed (leaving just one officer), and two dozen wounded before it retreated to its home base, leaving most of its dead behind.

2. Battle of Ho Bo Woods - On July 19, 1966, Company A, 1st Bn, 27th Rgt, 25th Division helicoptered into an LZ with 92 soldiers on a search and destroy mission. There is no account of what happened next, except that 25 were killed and 32 wounded as the company fled aboard helicopters, leaving 16 of their dead behind.

Oliver Stone, who won an Academy Award for writing and directing the movie "Platoon", served with the 25th Infantry Division a year after the Ho Bo battle, and depicts this loss in his movie, where Elias is left behind as others escape aboard helicopters. Keep in mind that fleeing a losing battle is not cowardly, nor is leaving dead bodies behind. Sometimes the enemy surprises you and has the advantage, evidenced by the dying and chaos, so its best to flee and save most of your force to fight another day. And there is nothing gained by losing soldiers trying to haul away dead soldiers. The dead are dead, something all living soldiers affirm when bullets are flying.

Sep 18, 2011 - American Greed is Good

I love the TV show "American Greed." It is very interesting, and very revealing. It shows how many educated, wealthy people rip off working class people with various schemes. I am always amazed that most don't have an exit strategy. They engage in an obvious fraud and know that it will be exposed, yet have no plan to disappear.

Many Americans watch too much television and embrace the corporate propaganda that government rules and regulations are evil, and that people honestly cooperate in a "free market" system. "American Greed" shows how decent people are fleeced, even though the perps know the Feds will go after them. One can imagine the chaos that would ensue without the "evil" regulators. 

Sep 11, 2011 - No Pentagon Cuts

I have concluded that military contractors face no budget cuts. While most Congressmen privately admit the Pentagon budget must be slashed to help save the nation from bankruptcy, it would hurt their efforts at soliciting bribes (aka campaign contributions). Congress has become so corrupt that it will not touch the military-industrial complex, which has doubled since 9-11. Any real cuts will occur in manpower, but this money will be reallocated to more military spending elsewhere. It's better to cut aid to the poor, since they don't make "contributions" that enrich Congressmen.

Once again, the biggest problem in this nation is that bribery is legal in the U.S. Congress. It is actually illegal to give "something of value" in exchange for specific actions by government employees. But our corrupt courts always agree that "contributions" are never directly tied to a vote or legislation, even when that legislation was written by "donors." Campaign contributions can be used for dining, travel, hotel stays, and for paying high salaries to friends and relatives. It is not illegal for a major corporation to hire a Congressman's unskilled wife or son as a $300,000 a year consultant.  In addition, kickbacks are commonplace, where loyal Congressmen collect millions of dollars as "consultants,  upon retirement, where they frequently explain to sitting Congressmen how they too can collect millions when they retire, if they "play ball."

Sep 10, 2011 - My Jobs Plan

You might have heard about President Obama's $447 billion jobs plan, which doesn't involve hiring anyone. It will give money to current workers through a cut in the payroll tax, and tax breaks for profitable businesses who hire people to replace higher paid workers they just fired. He also wants to shovel more money to local communities so they are not forced to trim the $100,000+ a year salaries of some workers. 

Here is my plan: First, stop issuing visas for foreign workers. This costs zero and creates a million jobs a year for American workers. Second, hire 10 million Americans for minimum wage "make work" jobs. This would cost around $12,000 a year per worker or a total of $120 billion a year, and no one can claim that it will not create jobs, because all the money goes directly to pay the unemployed to work.

Reassign the thousands of Dept of Labor workers from worker visa processing to payroll processing at every city in the USA. Any American can show up and "work" 8am to 5pm and earn minimum wage. It would take a few minutes to enroll each person, as they go through E-verify to confirm legal work status, and then a computer check to make sure they are not collecting unemployment or social security. Then workers check-in every workday at 8am, and are told to go take a seat, where they may sit around all day reading or chatting. (FYI, minimum wage varies per state, but is around $1000 a month take home pay since workers aren't paid for sick days or holidays.) Congress may exempt the program from all other wage laws, and just pay a simple sub-minimum $5 an hour, so anyone can "earn" $40 day. Americans in remote areas may complain, but they know there are very few jobs in the wilderness. If they need to suck off the government teat, they must move to a nearby city to seek work, while showing up at the local government warehouse everyday, ready for whatever work appears in order to collect a government check.

Employers seeking workers will be encouraged to come by and interview them. Federal, state, and local government agencies would be encouraged to borrow this free labor, for picking up trash and other duties now performed by "community service" labor. If they refuse to work, they will be reported and not paid for those hours. This is far better than welfare and extended unemployment payments, and related fraud, and forces the unemployed to get up early every morning and go to work. This is excellent for getting homeless off the streets, and providing instant income for off-season workers, those whose unemployment benefits ended, returning veterans, released convicts, and those unable to hold a steady job due to alcohol or drug abuse or minor mental illnesses. This "work" may be easy but boring and pay is low and there are no benefits, or chances for promotion or pay increases, so most will eventually find better work.

This will greatly decrease vagrancy and petty crime, and governments will collect some money back through social security taxes and sales taxes. Local judges could take advantage of this program by giving petty criminals a choice between a few weeks in jail or a few 40-hour weeks at the government work center, where half their wages are garnished to pay their fine. This would save communities large sums from jail costs while collecting money off the feds work program. It would also reform some teenagers by getting them accustomed to going to work each day rather than learning the gang culture while loitering in jail. After their sentence ends, many would continue to show up for "work" and abandon a life a petty crime on the streets.

Meanwhile, slackers who tell family members there are no jobs cannot explain why they don't go down to the local labor center everyday to secure a paycheck. This is truly a jobs program, and costs much less than Obama's plan. I think the majority of Americans would support money to hire 10 million minimum wage workers, especially since it would allow them to shove their "discouraged" 26-year old unemployed son or 55-year old unemployed husband out the door each morning. Their communities would become trash free too!

Hopefully, our economy will improve and allow the phase out of this program. Meanwhile, good people should support a minimum subsistence "job" to the hoards of unemployed, and to keep them busy, lest they resort to crime and riots. Most American workers hate the current system of providing government checks to those who are required to do no work. Nearly all would agree that American citizens deserve a chance to work for pay, and would support this plan to pay a minimum wage to any American willing to show up for work every day. If it bothers them that some do nothing every day, then think of things they can do in the local area. This would also relieve stress for Americans worried about lay-offs, since they know a safety net exists.

Sep 5, 2011 - Congress Freed the Slaves

For some reason, I was taught that President Lincoln freed the slaves with his 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. I just learned that in July 1862, Congress passed and Lincoln signed the "Second Confiscation Act" to liberate slaves, but Lincoln took the position that Congress lacked power to free slaves unless Lincoln as commander-in-chief deemed it a proper military measure. Lincoln was concerned that it would cause more states to secede. A few months later, he bowed to pressure and announced that law would be enforced while taking credit for freeing slaves.

Another aspect of the Civil war that I had never read about was that most slaves slowed or stopped work during the war, and a half million ran off. Local state militias in the South had gone to war, so slave owners had no muscle to intimidate their slaves, and they feared traditional harsh discipline like whippings would incite revolts. As a result, most of the southern agricultural economy died by 1863.

Sep 4, 2011 - Delay Retirement and Increase Unemployment

Given that we have a 20%+ unemployment rate, I am stunned that some leaders want to increase the social security retirement age. That would encourage older workers to remain in the workforce longer, increasing unemployment. Why should society pay younger unemployed workers with food stamps, Medicaid and other forms of welfare, rather than social security to elderly workers who want to retire? Workers over age 65 are less productive, miss work more often, and cost more when pay is tied to seniority.

As I've blogged before, a better solution is to define social security as a retirement subsidy rather than an entitlement for anyone over age 65. This means people who continue working past age 65 and who make above average income (~$38,000 a year) are not entitled to social security retirement, because they are not retired. If they think this unfair, they should retire and let a younger person work. Meanwhile, it would save our nation billions of dollars a year, and create jobs for younger workers as older workers are encouraged to retire. I'd also eliminate the provision that pays workers 25% more in social security should they delay retirement until age 70.

We need to encourage workers to retire at age 65 to open jobs for younger workers, while saving billions of dollars a year by ending the unneeded entitlement to higher income workers who choose to keep working. Unfortunately, this idea is unpopular with higher wage workers who have more political influence. For example, more than a hundred members of Congress are over 65 and collect social security retirement in addition to their $134,000 annual pay. They could survive without their "retirement" pay.

Sep 3, 2011 - Eliminate Pell Grants

One of the first steps toward slashing our bloated federal government is to eliminate Pell Grants for college education. This provides up to $5550 to  "low income" American college students. Disclosure: I once got $1000 a year from this racket, once known as BEOG. If your parents stop declaring you as a dependent, you become low-income. Why do students deserve this money? Did they serve in the military or Peace Corps or Americorps? Do they have a serious course of study? Will their degree fill a shortage in our economy? Why should working class people pay extra taxes that is transferred to other people to pursue their dreams?

I would scrap this mindless program and devote half toward debt reduction, and the other half to addressing continual storages in the American labor force; like nurses, primary care doctors, and certain high tech machinists. The federal government could pay tuition for these courses, or loan forgiveness upon graduation, or fund the expansion of programs where needed. Our nation has had a nursing shortage for decades, which resulted in programs to import thousands of foreign trained nurses each year, and forces hospitals to pay high wages to retain nurses, running up medical costs. Meanwhile, our nation is short thousands of primary care doctors, evidenced by the delay in getting an appointment to see a doctor, and no one in DC seems to care.

Aug 28, 2011 - More Lost Battles of the Vietnam War

I am reading the outstanding classic, "A People's History of the United States", which is a historical perspective from the working class viewpoint, in contrast to the wealthy/corporate viewpoint taught in schools.  It encouraged my ongoing effort at correcting historical myths such as: Lost Battles of the Vietnam War. I just added these eight:

1. Battle of Thon La Chu - The 1968 Tet offensive caught the U.S. military by surprise, and the NVA captured the city of Hue. During this chaos, the cavalry was sent to save the Marines as the Army's lightly armed 2nd battalion/12th Cavalry flew to the rescue in helicopters. After landing, it charged across an open rice paddy without its customary artillery or air support and suffered considerable casualties. The enemy had superior numbers, superior positions, and enough firepower to encircle the battalion. With 60% casualties, no supplies and little air support, the battalion was lucky to slip away at night and flee total destruction.

2. Fall of A Shau - The NVA sent five battalions to overrun this large Special Forces camp near the Vietnam border. It was defended by 380 local troops led by 17 Americans. After a day of heavy fighting, the defenders faced defeat. Five of the Americans fled by helicopter leaving behind 8 American dead and 5 missing. Most of the local troops were left behind. Another seven Americans died providing air support.

3. Attack on Nui Ba Den - A hundred NVA launched a surprise assault on a poorly defended American signal intelligence station atop Nui Ba Den mountain. The base was quickly overrun and burned to the ground. The NVA killed 24 Americans, wounded 35, and 2 were taken prisoner as the NVA withdrew. Most Americans survived in one bunker or by fleeing the base and hiding among boulders. Some refer to the battle as a massacre because the attack was so sudden that many soldiers had no rifles to defend themselves.

4. "Black Friday"- Strike aircraft losses were common, but on December 2, 1966 the U.S. Air Force lost five aircraft and the Navy lost three aircraft to surface to air missiles or anti-aircraft gunfire. Air Force losses included three F-4Cs, one RF-4C, and an F-105. The Navy lost one F-4B and two Douglas A-4C Skyhawks.

5. Battle of Lima Site 85 - The USAF established a secret navigation site atop a remote mountain in Laos to allow all-weather bombing northward. The NVA learned of this and surprised the Americans with their mountain climbing skills. The site was overrun as seven Americans escaped aboard a rescue helicopter, leaving 12 dead airmen behind while their 42 supporting CIA funded Asian mercenary soldiers perished.

6. FSB Airborne Overrun - There are several short, vague accounts about how this artillery firebase was overrun on May 13, 1969. One veteran believes it was bait to draw the NVA into combat. VC sappers slipped inside its weak defenses and exploded the artillery ammunition dump, killing a dozen and causing confusion. The NVA swept through the base at night killing and wounding most defenders and destroying its big guns. Many Americans managed to hide until the NVA left before dawn, so the base was never officially captured. However, it was wrecked and abandoned.

7. Battle of Hamburger Hill - A battalion from the 101st Airborne (3/187) encountered stiff resistance on rugged Hill 937. It was unable to capture the summit due to steep, dense terrain, well-built enemy bunkers, a deadly friendly fire incident, and fierce NVA defenders. A second battalion (1/506) was sent to attack from the south, but it suffered the same fate. Small NVA counterattacks caused confusion and several more deadly friendly fire incidents. Aggressive American commanders ordered repeated attacks for three days until 3/187 had lost 60% of its men and withdrew, while 1/506 remained pinned down. 

More battalions eventually arrived to join the attack and were repulsed. ARVN scouts reported the NVA had left the mountain, nevertheless, a two hour aerial bombardment commenced before the American battalions walked up Hill 937 to proclaim victory, and then withdrew a few days later. These frontal assaults resulted in 84 American dead with 480 wounded, and the loss of several helicopters, leading to the nickname "Hamburger Hill" where GIs were ground up. Given the heavy causalities suffered for nothing gained, this was a defeat.

8. June 27, 1972 Air Battle - While superior aircraft of the USA won most air battles, the smaller MIGs flown by North Vietnamese pilots won many battles, which remain mostly hidden from history. An interesting website that documents combat losses sheds some light. It notes that MIGs shot down five American F-4E Phantom fighters on June 27, 1972, and cross referencing the date for American air victories shows no MIG kills.

Date Unit (FR) A/C Pilot Weapon Victim AF
27Jun72 921 MiG-21 Nguyen Duc Nhu R-3S F-4E USAF (Sullivan/Francis)
27Jun72 927 MiG-21MF Ngo Duy Thu R-3S F-4E USAF (Dam)
27Jun72 927 MiG-21MF Nguyen Doc Soat R-3S F-4E (67-0248) 308TFS/USAF (Cerak/Dingee)
27Jun72 927 MiG-21MF Pham Phu Thai R-3S F-4E (69-7271) 366TFW/USAF (Aikman/Hanton)
27Jun72 927 MiG-21MF Bui Thanh Liem R-3S F-4E (69-7296)) 366TFW/USAF (Miller/McDow

It would be interesting to know what happened that day, but the USAF chose not to document this air battle. Vietnamese pilots were more experienced, more familiar with the airspace, flew shorter missions, and could choose their fights, so they sometimes surprised American pilots.

Aug 21, 2011 - Oh My God, the 10th Anniversary is Coming!

As September 11 looms, I'll have to turn off my television, lest I see countless repeat stories about the same old BS, with idiots calling all those who died "heroes", even though 95% were just regular joes at work who did nothing heroic. Then we will be told that we must keep fighting for the empire, lest this happens again. No one will mention that such fighting is what caused 9-11, or that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11, or that the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden had nothing to do with 9-11. 

It has been well documented, by 9-11 Commission itself, that 9-11 was planned by a Kuwaiti living in the Philippines to retaliate for America's support of Israel's gradual ethnic cleansing of the West Bank. The attackers were mostly Saudis (no Iraqis or Afghans) who were financially supported by Pakistan's intelligence service and trained for the attack in Germany (they had never been to Afghanistan). Osama bin Laden later endorsed the attack, but took no part, and wasn't even aware of it until he saw it on television. It remains unclear who else took part in the attacks, evidenced by the demolition of WTC-7 and dozens of other unexplained oddities.

Al Qaeda was created by the CIA to fight the Soviets in the 1980s. It no longer exists, except in the propaganda produced by the CIA and its allies in the corporate media to describe any Arab nationalist who opposes Anglo-American domination of the Arab world. There is no central command authority and all media statements from "al Qaeda" come from covert CIA run websites that provide an illusion that "al Qaeda" exists. American troops in Afghanistan are not fighting terrorists or al Qaeda, but Afghan tribes who oppose the American occupation of their nation. Meanwhile, the CIA/Pentagon budget doubled since 9-11 and corporate profits for military contractors tripled, even though real threats to the USA declined, except for the threat of national bankruptcy due in part to the $3 trillion wasted over the past ten years to fight non-existent "terrorists."

All this information is publicly available and can be read in official on-line government documents and in the foreign press, but it is not allowed on American television. Standby for yet another major propaganda blitz as 9-11 approaches.

Aug 20, 2011 - American GIs will Stay in Iraq Forever

As I predicted, Obama's promise to withdraw all American troops from Iraq has been broken, for the third time! Our corporate media ignored Secretary of Defense Panetta's proud announcement that he finally arm twisted Iraqi leaders into agreeing to a permanent stay. He seems to have forgot that Obama told everyone all GIs would be gone by year's end. As a final plot twist, Panetta said that all American combat forces would be gone by year's end, something that Obama and his corporate media told everyone occurred a year ago.

Aug 15, 2011 - Our Base in Kyrgyzstan

You probably didn't know that our Air Force has a permanent base near western China, which it doesn't need: The Manas Playground - an airbase with no purpose

Aug 14, 2011 - Creating Jobs in China

Its time for CNN's Jack Cafferty to retire, as he's losing his mind. He recently violated a corporate media rule by criticizing "free trade" and low corporate taxes. In a recent rant, he pointed out that General Electric earned $5 billion in the USA last year, but paid no federal taxes. Then he asked why no politician was openly critical of GE for its plans to move its medical X-ray development division from Wisconsin to China. His fellow "newsmen" wisely ignored his rant and that story, lest they face early retirement.

Aug 13, 2011 - A Very Secret Agent

The "Asia Times" is a great independent news source, whose writers often expose the BS fed to us by the corporate media. Read this article about the "debt ceiling" game. The U.S. Government now owes more money to the Federal Reserve than to China. The Federal Reserve (The Fed) is a private banking cartel that creates dollars out of nothing, and lends those dollars to the USA, earning interest. 

I've read elsewhere that all this borrowing is great business for Wall Street banks that sell U.S. Treasuries (i.e. debt). They receive a commission, which sounds fair, but they get one even when the Fed buys them from the U.S. government. So some people push a few computer keystrokes, and a computer creates electronic dollars that are transferred through Wall Street banks to U.S. government accounts within a second, while the bankers "earn" millions of dollars in commissions each week off these "sales."

Aug 8, 2011 - Ruling Africa from Germany

Close Kelley Barracks - and Africom

Aug 7, 2011 - Charging into Hot LZs

Recent news prompts me to suggest an old article of mine: Update Helicopter Tactics

Aug 4, 2011 - Fred Reed is Brilliant

As I've noted before, Fred Reed is America's best writer, whose rambling commentaries can be read at his website. Editors refuse to carry his columns because they are too controversial and negative.

Aug 1, 2011 - Criminal Banking

A relative just showed me an unsolicited pre-approved credit card application for $700 of credit from First Premier Bank of South Dakota. It has a $175 annual fee for the first year, which drops to $49 annually. But after one year, a $14.50 monthly service fee begins; and the annual interest rate is 30%! Usury was illegal in the USA until 1980, and this scam is clearly targeted at the uneducated or desperate. What happened to consumer protection in this nation?

This is yet another banking scam to generate short-term profits to generate bonuses. As soon as someone accepts, the bank "earns" $175 profit by charging for the money it loaned. Then the 30% interest grows, covered by the bank line of credit. Its a guaranteed quick money maker, until the naive borrower defaults to be harassed by bill collectors.

We are told the USA is a democracy. How about a federal law that eliminates annual fees and monthly service charges, because the banks earn 2-3% off each transaction. Then cap the credit card interest rate at 10%, ban over limit fees (since banks can simply decline the charge) and limit late fees to $5. Since 99% of American would support this, the only reason it would not pass is that we don't really have a democracy.

Jul 31, 2011 - We Don't Need an Army Base in Honduras

Yes, we have one, which has been added to my overseas base closure list - The Forgotten Base at Soto Cano

Jul 26, 2011 - Can Rednecks Love a Frenchman?

Americans have been taught to dislike the French. The 2012 Olympics in London may change that. It is an accepted fact that black men are faster than white men, its just genetics. All world class 100-meter dash races have a line of black men, with an occasional white guy, who finishes last. Now a great white hope has emerged that may erase this truth. Blond Frenchie Christophe Lemaitre became the first white man to run 100 meters in less than 10 seconds, at age 19! In 2010, he became the first white man to win the 100 meters in the European championship - at age 20. He won the 200 meter dash too!

He is not the fastest man on the planet as a couple Jamaicans recently beat him at events, yet Lematire is several years younger. For unknown reasons, he is not muscular like all sprinters, but lean. As the 2012 Olympics approach, you will hear more about this Frenchman breaking down race barriers. If skinny, extra-white Lemaitre wins a gold medal, African confidence will sink. Its already falling as white Europeans continue to gain spots in the NBA, with a big white foreigner named Dirk leading his team to win the 2011 NBA championship.

Jul 24, 2011 - Why Tactical Nukes in Europe?

Close Share-a-Nuke Sites - deactivate four outdated sites and units

Jul 21, 2011 - Organized Crime at Work

Rupert Murdoch is a billionaire media mogul and one of the most powerful people on Earth. A loudmouth former employee got him in trouble with the current UK hacking scandal, which forced Murdoch to abandon his effort to monopolize British news, and led to his questioning before Parliament. The head of Scotland Yard resigned after related stories of police bribes emerged. Now we are told it was just a "coincidence" that the healthy 48-year old employee was found dead at home. His neighbors reported that he looked sickly in recent days, and was fearful of the police and media, yet London police reported that his death was not suspicious. How did fellow "newsmen" from the Murdoch media empire cover this story? With a classic smear campaign. Here is the story opening from Fox News: 

Sean Hoare was the kind of reporter who could knock back several whiskeys and a few lines of cocaine before filing salacious stories of celebrity misbehavior.

A fellow reporter just died from unknown reasons, and the first thing they write is that he was a drunk, cocaine user, and paparazzi. These slurs are repeated several times, even though the cause of his death is unknown. Even if true, what about respect for the dead, and his family? 

The last major whistleblower to embarrass the British government was Dr. David Kelly. He was a weapons expert who leaked details of how the British people were lied to about Iraq's WMDs prior to the invasion of Iraq. He was killed a few weeks later. If the next James Bond movie depicted 007 deftly killing citizens who embarrass the British government, it would be a box office hit, yet anyone who attempted to make such a movie is likely to suffer a deadly "accident." 

Jul 18, 2011 - Critical Path to Saving Gasoline

I'm reading a famous, old book "Critical Path." I don't recommend it, but it does make some good points. The author says that some 60% of Americans do no useful work: the military, insurance companies, advertising ect. He notes all the resources consumed to transport these non-workers to work. It got me thinking that when the USA suddenly hits a "peak oil" fuel crisis, when gasoline soars well past $8 gallon, immediate action is required. 

A quick solution is a four-day work week. Working ten-hour shifts is tough, but a three-day weekend is nice. Moreover, people would spend 20% less time commuting to work, saving hours a week, and cutting commute fuel costs 20%. This could be quickly implemented by adjusting federal overtime laws, which require 50% more pay for any work performed more than 40 hours a week. A new law would also require overtime pay for any time worked more than four days a week. Government offices, schools, banks, factories, and stores would quickly change to four-day work weeks. 

One can debate the pros and cons of 10-hour work days, but no one will dispute the immediate saving on fuel consumption, which would cause a rapid drop in demand and thus price. If workers are paying $10 a gallon for gas, most would love the new four-day work week.

Jul 14, 2011 - The Coming Insurance Crisis

You may have heard about the recent "banking" crisis caused by subprime mortgage loans. You may have read hundreds of "news" stories, so you probably don't realize that it was an insurance crisis caused by banks involved in unethical insurance rackets. The big Wall Street banks packaged crappy mortgage loans into securities, paid credit rating firms to rate them as solid, and sold them worldwide. However, most were so bad they couldn't get AAA or even AA or A ratings, so they offered to insure them.

They weren't insurance companies, and didn't want to set aside reserves for potential losses, so they called this insurance "credit default swaps." It was a method to insure bond buyers against losses, and earn easy money. Here is a simplified example of what occurred. Banks earn nice fees for placing "selling" securities, such as mortgage backed securities. The crappy ones paid out a nice interest rate, so buyers could earn 7% annually rather than 4% for the AAA types. Since the bankers had trouble unloading low rated securities, they offered to insure them for a "credit default" fee of 1% a year. These were the largest banks on Wall Street, and our government would never let them fail, so buyers got a higher interest rate and guaranteed repayment! 

The bankers knew this might blow up one day, but their annual bonuses are based on the annual profits they generate. If a division sold $100 billion in crappy mortgage securities by offering insurance, the bank made 2% off the sale ($2 billion) plus 1% a year ($1 billion) in "credit default swap" income. This was a paper gold mine, and they paid themselves millions of dollars each year in bonuses for several years. Since these bonds were rarely traded, their current value was mostly unknown, until the 2008 economic downturn forced firms to "deleverage" and cash in some bonds. When they found no buyers, the banks were in trouble because their bond holders also tried to sell their bonds. When no buyers could be found, they demanded a refund from the banks at face value, which banks had guaranteed through credit default swaps. Since banks had never set aside funds for anticipated insurance losses, they had no reserves and ran to Uncle Sam for help.

Now there are worries about some European nations defaulting on their government bonds. They were sold by our big Wall Street banks, and some wonder what fools bought them. One logical explanation is that Wall Street banks insured the with still unregulated and unreported credit default swaps. So if the Greeks, Italians, Portuguese, or Irish fail to pay their debts, Uncle Sam may pay them. Here is an excellence recent overview of Wall Street crime.

Jul 13, 2011 - Mexican Truckers May Invade

I just caught a small news blurb that should be front page news. Obama has agreed to open American highways to Mexican truckers. This was part of the 1994 NAFTA agreement, but congressional opposition delayed enactment. Mexican truckers can only drive a few miles across the border to drop off their trailers, where they are taken onward by American registered trucks driven by American licensed truck drivers. The NAFTA idea is that trucking is trade, so Mexican truckers should have full access to American roadways, while American truckers have free access in Mexico. This sounds "free", yet Mexican truckers earn $3 a hour while American truckers earn $15. In addition, Mexican licensed trucks would not have to pass any state safety inspection, and Mexican drivers would not have to pass American commercial driver's license tests or background checks for DWIs, reckless driving, or smuggling convictions. No English, no SSN, no problem.

There is no need to explain why this provision was never enacted. George Bush attempted to implement this as president, yet ALL state governors rejected the reckless idea. They proclaimed sovereignty over their states' roads and promised that their highway patrolmen would stop and seize any truck without American plates or driven by anyone without a state issued commercial driver's license. Apparently, President Obama's handlers think they can now quietly implement free trucking. Their corporate news machines will ignore this issue, and if small independent newspapers blow the whistle, they will announce that Americans don't want to drive trucks anyway, and citizens who opposes unlicensed foreign trucks and drivers on American roadways are racists. The million American truck drivers who lose their jobs will be retrained, for non-existent "high-tech" jobs.

Jul 11, 2011 - The Stars and Corporate Stripes

If you were "educated" in the USA, you probably think the 13 stripes on the American flag represent the 13 original colonies. That is incorrect. George Washington selected the flag of the world's largest corporation, the East India Company, for his revolutionary army. (pictured below) This is an established fact, it is called the Grand Union flag. Politically correct "historians" insist that it just "resembles" the identical East India corporate flag, so this means nothing! After the first couple years of fighting, Washington responded to complaints from his troops about the British "Union Jack" on the upper left corner of their flag, so it was changed to a solid blue background with 13 stars.

It is unclear why George Washington chose this flag. He was the wealthiest man in the USA, and fully supported property rights of the wealthy over the taxation power of government. The British East India company was a huge corporate monopoly that even had its own army and navy to run British colonies in Asia for profit. The British government finally asserted control of this quasi-government with the East India Company Act of 1773. The Parliament of Great Britain imposed a series of administrative and economic reforms to clearly establish its sovereignty and ultimate control over the Company. The Act recognized the Company's political functions and clearly established that the "acquisition of sovereignty by the subjects of the Crown is on behalf of the Crown and not in its own right." Despite stiff resistance from the East India lobby in parliament and from Company shareholders, the Act passed. It introduced substantial governmental control and allowed the land to be formally under the control of the Crown, but leased to the Company at Ł40,000 for two years. In summary, the British government imposed a corporate tax.

During this same period, the British Parliament also expanded taxation and political control over its prosperous 13 American colonies. This led to the American revolution, which began in 1775, just two years after the British Parliament began taxation of property held by wealthy shareholders of the East India Company. I can only speculate, but it seems that in adopting the East India corporate flag for his rebellious army, Washington attempted to gain favor with his fellow wealthy British property owners against the British government.

Jul 9, 2011 - The American Space Age Ends Ended Two Decades Ago

The last shuttle launch marks the official end of the American space age. Two decades ago, it become apparent that the Space Shuttle was a failed design. One of its first astronauts, Dr. Story Musgrave recently said:

"The shuttle did not turn out like we planned. It was going to [fly] 66 times a year and it ended up with about five times a year. It was going to cost $10 million a flight, and two months ago, an independent study showed that it cost $1.2 billion a flight. It was massively fragile, difficult to operate and exceedingly dangerous."

After the first few flights, the design flaws were obvious to everyone and program should have ended. Unfortunately, the "socialist" government employees who put a man on the moon had been replaced by capitalists when the Space Shuttle program was mostly outsourced to Boeing and LockMart. They made huge profits off this failure and bribed members of Congress with "contributions" to keep the racket going for two more decades. This failed program sucked all the money out of NASA and killed all new ideas, such as my favorite, tunnel assisted launch.

Jul 6, 2011 - Cold War Rackets Continue

My latest article on overseas bases that should close highlights the Marine Corps' equipment storage program in Norway: The Norway Pre-Po Racket - still ready for a Soviet invasion

Jul 4, 2011 - Ralph Nader

If you watch a lot of television, you might think that Ralph Nader is an evil "leftist" or "radical", because corporate America hates him and uses their corporate news networks to demonize him. He is one of the great Americans of our generation, who often explains how Wall Street uses the two-party political machines to control the working class with false democracy. This is why you see endless, boring news reports about the 2012 presidential campaign. It gives the illusion of a democratic process, while providing free publicity to corporate approved candidates.

Nader getting old, but still telling the truth. Here is a recent Nader comment, where he explains that the Obama administration is controlled by neocon imperialists too, evidenced by Obama's pointless surge into Afghanistan, and ongoing conquest of Libya:

"This time those people who are speaking out want a restoration of the rule of law. This is a pretty conservative goal. The extreme radicals are now in charge of our country, the military-industrial complex and the White House. It is not so much the military as the civilian leadership, the neocons in the White House. The military does not like to get into wars, but once they are in it is very hard to control them because they want to win.

It’s not like Japan in 1939, which really was a militaristic society. It is exactly the opposite of what the constitutional founders thought would be the case. They put the civilians in charge to restrain the military. In effect, these people are activating and pushing the military into places the military does not want to go. They use a volunteer Army, flatter it, give it a lot of weaponry and send it abroad. Only about 5 million people, soldiers and their families, feel what is going on. Once it is entrenched, once you accept this neocon ideology, which is a vitriolic, aggressive, empire-spreading ideology, run largely by draft dodgers who in their youth gung-hoed the Vietnam War but wanted their friends to go and die for it, then democracy is too weak to overcome that. Two dozen people plunged this country into war. The first arena designed to stop this is the Congress, but it does not observe its constitutional duties or require a declaration of war.”

Recall that Obama became president because he promised to pull all U.S. troops out of Iraq within 18 months of taking office, something Hillary Clinton refused. We still have 46,000 troops in Iraq, and 14 were killed by enemy fire last month performing "non-combat" duties. This is only 4000 less than a year ago, and ALL these troops are supposed to be gone by years' end. This is Obama's third promised date to pull ALL troops out of Iraq.

Jul 3, 2011 -  The Population Bomb

The world's population doubled since I was born, and rapid population growth is the greatest threat to our national and economic security. This critical topic is largely ignored. I wrote about this years ago: The Refugee Threat. I was happy to see an outstanding short article about this critical issue: Population bomb; 9 billion march to WWIII. Here is part:

"Yes, you can forget “Peak Oil.” Forget global warming. Forget debt, deficits, defaults. Forget commodities, scarce resource depletion. Forget all other economic, political, military problems. Yes, forget all of them. None of them matter … if our leaders fail to deal with the world’s out-of-control population bomb. Nothing else matters. Nothing."

This is the most important issue of our time, and I highly recommend this article.


Carlton Meyer

2011 Blog (first half) - The Empire Retreats

2010 Blog - The Empire Crumbles

2009 Blog - The Bankrupt Empire

2008 Blog - The End of the Empire

2000-2008 - Monthly Editorials