Hijinks on the High Seas

I’ve always been interested in naval hijinks, mostly because navies are the premier means of “projecting power” for nation-states.* And, of course, gathering intelligence as well. The US’ military has a huge emphasis on naval force-projection because of the logistics of having a navy: a carrier task force group is a movable city with its own inner supply chain. As mentioned elsewhere, you can tell a lot about the purpose of a nation’s military by its force structure.

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Sunday Sermon: Shooting Back

(Content Warning: war, death)

I’m going to begin today’s sermon with a transcript from a podcast I recently heard. It’s David Wood, speaking at Politics and Prose on “What Have We Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars.” Wood’s view is that wars can cause “Moral Injury” – a sort of post-traumatic stress disorder to our sense of right and wrong. The bit that stuck in my mind, which I went back and replayed and bookmarked, was an example that he gave – an example that is very typical of the experiences of many soldiers:

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A Side-Note on Pearl Harbor

The book “Stalin’s Spy: Richard Sorge and the Tokyo Spy Ring” is worth reading for those of you who are interested in spy-craft. He has nothing to do with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and therefore everything to do with the American’s failure to listen to their signals intelligence analysts who had cracked the Japanese PURPLE code system and were desperately trying to warn the state department that something was coming over the horizon.

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Gear is No Substitute For Competence

Content warning: War, Death, Violent imagery.

The other day I posted about the Iraqi army advance on Mosul, and observed that one of the vehicles in the picture appeared to be a US-made M-1 Abrams main battle tank.

I didn’t think that, at $5 million apiece, and still being fairly high-tech, the US would let gear like that out into the wild. TL;DR: I hadn’t realized how badly the warmongers in Washington have been screwing up.

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Sunday Sermon: Military Honor

[Spoiler Warning: If you haven’t seen Seven Samurai, I am going to drop an important plot-point. And what’s wrong with you?]

I grew up reading about feats of derring-do, famous last stands, and martial arts philosophy. My favorite movie was, and remains, “Seven Samurai” by Akira Kurosawa – it’s an extended meditation on the different aspects of military honor, courage, despair, humor, and the fleeting moments of peace that warriors can occasionally snatch out of the mud and blood and awfulness.

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The Hardcore of Yore – Dickey Chapelle

Trigger warning: war and death, death imagery

Dickey Chapelle died when I was a kid and the news of her death was how “war photographer” entered my mental landscape. When I was a kid and started getting interested in military history, I was mostly inclined toward the Napoleonic Wars because of the gorgeous uniforms and the amazing paintings by Meissonier and David (I spent a lot of time at the Musee Des Invalides…)

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