Using Water As A Weapon Of War

Herschel Smith · 03 Aug 2014 · 7 Comments

Next City: In a war, anything can be a weapon. In a particularly ruthless war, such as the conflict that has been raging in Syria for more than three years, those weapons are often turned against civilians, making any semblance of normal life impossible. Such is the case, experts say, with the way the nation’s water supply is being manipulated to inflict suffering on the population. According to an article posted by Chatham House, a London-based independent policy institute, water…… [read more]

Is A Gun Protection Against A Bear?

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 11 months ago

One would think that the answer to this question is fairly straight forward after the change in federal law allowing firearms to be carried into National Parks saved its first backpackers.  But there was a proliferation of stupid articles about a gun being no protection against bears, articles such as this one.

A well placed bullet might stop an aggressive grizzly, but not shooting could be just as effective in protecting yourself in bear country, according to a new study by Brigham Young University wildlife biologists.

Longtime bear biologist Tom Smith and colleagues analyzed 269 incidents of close-quarter bear-human conflict in Alaska between 1883 and 2009 in which a firearm was involved. They found the gun made no statistical difference in the outcome of these encounters, which resulted in 151 human injuries and 172 bear fatalities

“It really isn’t about the kind of gun you carry. It’s about how you carry yourself,” said Smith, lead author of the study published online in the Journal of Wildlife Management.

“Guns are great, but for a gun to be great you have to be very, very good. No one ever practices on a 500-pound animal charging at you through the brush at 10 meters. They practice on paper targets,” he added. “That’s a big, big difference from being in the moment of stress.”

One commenter noted how bad studies like this are, observing that:

For any study to be valid, controls must be in place to make certain that conditions are identical for the options being tested.  That is patently false in this scenario and for a very simple reason:  Bear spray is carried with the full purpose of using it on a bear.  That may seem like a simple premise, but let me continue.   A firearm may be carried for any one of several reasons; small game hunting, bird shooting, etc.  In other words, the bear spray examples they give are all in preparation for those specific situations, the firearm examples may be anything from someone carrying a 12 gauge loaded with OOO buckshot, strictly on the concern for meeting up with B’rer Bruin, to a squirrel hunter armed only with a .22.  Likewise would be the case of shotgunner, out for birds and carrying only birdshot.

For this study to be valid, it would have to compare those using bear spray for protection with those carrying heavy enough firearms for the specific intent of protecting the carrier from bears.

Well, yes, but things that seem intuitive to us (e.g., that the presence of a man-killing animal requires protection) get buried by biased “researchers.”  Fortunately we have other writers who aren’t so stolid.

A predatory black bear attack on a camper in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness area illustrates why guns–not bear spray–are sometimes the best tool for self-defense.

A five-year old, 185 pound male black bear jumped on the camper’s tent at 7:30 in the morning. The bear then ripped through the tent and mauled the man in what Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials describe as a predatory attack.

The camper–who has chosen not to be identified or talk to the media–used bear spray to deter the bear, however, the bruin did not leave the area.

Since the man was out of bear spray, he was helpless. That would not be the case if he had a pistol, rifle, or shotgun because most of these firearms hold five or more rounds. The man could have killed the bear.

Incredibly, a U.S. Forest Service trail crew employee came upon the injured man just outside his camp. The Great Falls Tribune said the Forest Service employee “chased off the bear,” but no explanation was offered on how this was accomplished.

The Forest Service employee then radioed for help. A helicopter arrived, and the injured man was taken to the Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

Later that afternoon, Montana FWP sent a team to dispatch the bear. The bear was killed just 70 yards from the campsite. It was in the process of moving closer to the tent.

The bruin had bear spray on its fur. It had blood on its claws. A necropsy showed that after the initial attack, the bear had been able to get into food at the campsite. Its stomach contents included bits of Ziplock bags, dried pasta, and other food.

If there’s such a thing as a typical predatory black bear, this bear “fits the mold.” A recent study shows that 92% of all predatory black bears in the past century have been males. This bear was healthy, and that too is typical.

In the 2nd edition of Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance, biologist Stephen Herrero writes that “If predation is the motive for an attack, the attack typically continues until the bear is forced to back down, or the person gets away, or the bear gets its prey.” (p.106)

Better to have a minimum of five or six shots from a firearm, than one 5-8 second burst of bear spray.

You can keep your bear mace.  I’ll carry my XDm .45 or some similar gun, thank you.

Save The Planet – Buy An AR!

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 11 months ago

I’ve previously documented how an AR can be useful for entertainment and the study of the science of firearms, defining it this way.

While ATF lawyers might disagree, for something to have a “sporting purpose” means nothing more than it can be taken to the range and operated by the owner to his or her entertainment or training.  The shooting skills – whether for official competitions such as IDPA or 3-Gun, or for unofficial activities such as regular range visits for the purpose of betterment at the science of firearms operation – are sports.  All of them.  Period.  This is non-negotiable.  If it is a firearm, it has a sporting purpose.

Then again, ARs are useful for hunting as I’ve also shown.  I’ve also documented two-, three-, four- and five-man home invasions in which an AR was either used or could have been in self defense.

But that isn’t all.  Feral hogs have become a blight on the landscape and terrain of much of America.

What do wild hogs do that’s so bad?

Oh, not much. They just eat the eggs of the sea turtle, an endangered species, on barrier islands off the East Coast, and root up rare and diverse species of plants all over, and contribute to the replacement of those plants by weedy, invasive species, and promote erosion, and undermine roadbeds and bridges with their rooting, and push expensive horses away from food stations in pastures in Georgia, and inflict tusk marks on the legs of these horses, and eat eggs of game birds like quail and grouse, and run off game species like deer and wild turkeys, and eat food plots planted specially for those animals, and root up the hurricane levee in Bayou Sauvage, Louisiana, that kept Lake Pontchartrain from flooding the eastern part of New Orleans, and chase a woman in Itasca, Texas, and root up lawns of condominiums in Silicon Valley, and kill lambs and calves, and eat them so thoroughly that no evidence of the attack can be found.

And eat red-cheeked salamanders and short-tailed shrews and red-back voles and other dwellers in the leaf litter in the Great Smoky Mountains, and destroy a yard that had previously won two “‘Yard of the Month” awards on Robins Air Force Base, in central Georgia, and knock over glass patio tables in suburban Houston, and muddy pristine brook-trout streams by wallowing in them, and play hell with native flora and fauna in Hawaii, and contribute to the near-extinction of the island fox on Santa Cruz Island off the coast of California, and root up American Indian historic sites and burial grounds, and root up a replanting of native vegetation along the banks of the Sacramento River, and root up peanut fields in Georgia, and root up sweet-potato fields in Texas, and dig big holes by rooting in wheat fields irrigated by motorized central-pivot irrigation pipes, and, as the nine-hundred-foot-long pipe advances automatically on its wheeled supports, one set of wheels hangs up in a hog-rooted hole, and meanwhile the rest of the pipe keeps on going and begins to pivot around the stuck wheels, and it continues and continues on its hog-altered course until the whole seventy-five-thousand-dollar system is hopelessly pretzeled and ruined.

They have run farmers in Georgia and Texas completely out of business and threatened men, women and children with injury and loss of income.  But now comes an account of the use of ARs to address the problem.

Quite simply, what used to be vast tracks of empty land has filled up with people. The wilds where hunters once roamed now sport tract housing and double wides. It’s a big reason gun ownership is declining in America — down 40 percent since 1977.

But here on Campbell’s big farm is a little piece of what once was. And like many of his peers who came of age in the ’70s and ’80s, Campbell saw no reason for his daughters to be excluded from the rituals he grew up with.

[ ... ]

At his farmhouse, Campbell goes to his gun safe.

“It will hold about 40 guns, and I’ve got about 25 in there. But I’ve got some really neat guns,” Campbell says. “I’ve got my grandfather’s .22. I have an STW. I have an AR-15. I have a Smith & Wesson .22-250.”

Some of the rifles are for deer. Campbell has many beautiful shotguns because he is an avid duck hunter. He uses the AR-15, which is essentially the military’s M16, to hunt feral hogs. We go out back, and the judge lets fly with the semiautomatic.

“I’ve got a night vision scope on it. And the hogs only come out at 2 o’clock in the morning. There are certain spots they come out at. I drive up very quietly. I’m normally only 200 yards out, and I turn on my little trusty night vision scope and I smoke ‘em. All of ‘em,” Campbell says. “I can shoot 30 shots in eight seconds, and I’ve killed as many as 26 out of 30 shots at night with that gun.”

As for any willingness to compromise on something like limiting the size of ammunition clips, Campbell says if Democrats could be trusted not to ask for more and more, he’d consider it. But he says you can’t trust Democrats in general, and you certainly can’t trust Obama. And he says liberals mistake gun owners’ enmity toward the president for something it’s not.

“It’s not a black thing, it’s a liberal thing,” Campbell says.

Well, first in order to correct some misconceptions, it is simply a farce to claim that gun ownership is declining in America.  Second – and let me be clear about this – magazine capacity is a non-negotiable.  But third, note the use of the AR to save the terrain, protect indigenous species, protect the plant life, prevent erosion, and save the farmers.

It’s like the health benefits of red wine or coffee.  Is there anything an AR can’t do?

UPDATE #1: Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the attention!

UPDATE #2: Thanks to David Codrea for the attention!

UPDATE #3: My friend Joey MacRae, one of the premier quarter horse trainers in America, hunts feral hogs a different way down around Anderson, S.C.  He releases his bay dogs to bay up the pigs.  When they do he releases his strike dogs, and when the strike dogs get the pig, Joey goes in with a long knife and kills the pig himself with a strike to the heart.  Thanks, but if I go hog hunting I’ll stick to a gun.

UPDATE #4: Thanks to New Jovian Thunderbolt for the attention!  Maybe Benjamin wants to loan me his M-14 for a while?  I’m cool with that too.

UPDATE #5: Thanks to Michael Bane for the attention!

UPDATE #6: Thanks to Bill Quick for the attention!

UPDATE #7: Thanks to Say Uncle for the attention!

UPDATE #8: Thanks to Ace for the attention!

Prior:

Happy Assault Weapons Ban Sunset Provision Day!

No One Needs ARs For Self Defense Or Hunting?

Do We Have A Constitutional Right To Own An AR?

Friends and Enemies: Israel and Pakistan

BY Glen Tschirgi
1 year, 11 months ago

A fascinating interview by Fox News provides an infuriating look into all that is wrong with U.S. foreign policy and the so-called “war on terror.”

Fox News claims to have gained access to Dr. Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who cooperated with the CIA in verifying the location of Osama bin Laden in 2011.   The magnitude of Afridi’s statements have both the Pakistani government, the ISI and prison officials all denying that the interview took place.   Even Afridi’s lawyers deny that Afridi spoke to Fox News.  On the other hand, this BBC news account raises the possibility that the interview could have taken place using a cell phone secretly passed to Afridi by relatives.   The denials are, at any rate, less than categorical.   Speculation posits that Dr. Afridi may be making a desperate bid to generate news and sympathy in the U.S. for his plight in the hope that he will be released or the prison term reduced.

According to the Fox News story:

PESHAWAR, Pakistan –  Pakistan’s powerful spy agency regards America as its “worst enemy,” and the government’s claims that it is cooperating with the US are a sham to extract billions of dollars in American aid, according to the CIA informant jailed for his role in hunting down Usama bin Laden.

In an exclusive interview with Fox News, Shakil Afridi, the medical doctor who helped pinpoint bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound before last year’s raid by SEAL Team 6, described brutal torture at the hands of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, and said the agency is openly hostile to the U.S.

“They said ‘The Americans are our worst enemies, worse than the Indians,’” Afridi, who spoke from inside Peshawar Central Jail, said as he recalled the brutal interrogation and torture he suffered after he was initially detained.

***

The ISI, Afridi said, helps fund the Haqqani network, the North Waziristan-based militant group that was last week designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The agency also works against the U.S. by preventing the CIA from interrogating militants captured by Pakistan, who are routinely released to return to Afghanistan to continue attacks on NATO forces there.

“It is now indisputable that militancy in Pakistan is supported by the ISI […] Pakistan’s fight against militancy is bogus. It’s just to extract money from America,” Afridi said, referring to the $23 billion Pakistan has received largely in military aid since 9/11.

TCJ readers will not find any of Afridi’s statements surprising.   Pakistan’s duplicity is well documented over the years since the 9/11 attacks.   Nonetheless, the Afridi interview serves to highlight the futility of fighting a counterinsurgency in Afghanistan while allowing both Iran and Pakistan to actively support the insurgents.    Moreover, the U.S. government goes out of its way to curry favor with Pakistan, providing billions of dollars in aid while they assist our enemies.   This is simply immoral and an insult to the families who have lost loved ones in the Afghanistan theater of operations.

Finally, compare the treatment of Pakistan and their barely concealed contempt for the U.S. with the treatment given to Israel.  Setting aside any considerations of cultural or religious ties to Israel, from a national interest perspective, Israel is an irreplaceable ally in the heart of the Middle East.   Israel provides the U.S. with intelligence of all kinds that is otherwise unavailable (given our severe lack of human resources).   Israel effectively ties down the military assets of Egypt, Syria and the quasi-states of Gaza and Hezbollah-stan in Lebanon.   The Obama Administration is simply throwing Israel under the bus when it comes to a nuclear Iran.  Israel has sensibly asked for some “red lines” to be set in an attempt to stop the Iranian rush to obtain nuclear weapons.    Obama refuses.   More than that, Obama undercuts efforts by Israel to act on its own to protect itself from an Iranian threat that is catastrophic.

This insanity cannot continue.  It is hard to imagine that President Obama could have brought the U.S. to the brink of irrelevance in the Middle East in just four, short years, but, as U.S. embassies and consulates are attacked with impunity throughout the region, we are witnessing the first bitter fruits of what promises to be a horrific harvest to come.

Visit To Jones Gap State Park

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 11 months ago

Over the weekend we visited Jones Gap State Park in South Carolina, 6000 acres of mountainous wilderness.  It must have been a new moon, and upon nightfall we couldn’t see our hands in front of our face.  The critters stayed away, and although we were told to expect bear activity, we didn’t have any.  My son did almost get bitten by a Copperhead.

Here I am attempting to cure my insatiable appetite for caffeine by use of my Isobutane stove.  Mornings are tough without coffee.  My one man tent is in the background.  It was home for Heidi and me this weekend.  My trekking poles are on the ground to the right under the log.

This is the river down below us that sang us to sleep.

Doing The Same Things For Too Long In Afghanistan

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 11 months ago

Michael Yon does well with his rehearsal of how the Taliban would have pulled off their attack on Camp Bastion, but he does a lot more than that.

In every respect, Southern Afghanistan is a dark part of the world. Without moonlight, most villages are black at night.  The brightest places in the country are our bases.  Cultural lights present little danger to Taliban moving at night.  Our air assets, including our aerostat balloons, are often their biggest concern.

This war is mature.  The enemy knows us, and we know them.  After 11 years, the Taliban realizes that most helicopter traffic ceases during red illum.  Most birds will only fly for urgent MEDEVAC, or for special operations.  The enemy closely observes our air traffic.  Operations slow under red illum, so air traffic declines, and the chances of being spotted by roving aircraft are reduced.

There is a misconception that UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) such as Predators can detect everything.  They cannot.  Their field of vision is like looking through a toilet paper roll.  The UAVs are great for specific targets, such as watching a house, but imagine patrolling.  It is like trying to visually swat mosquitoes using no ears, no sense of touch, and only the ability to look through a toilet paper roll.  You will get some, and miss many.

We only have enough UAVs to cover small splotches of the country, and there are bases, roads, operations, and targets spread throughout Afghanistan and elsewhere that need watching.  The enemy can spoof observers by using a “pattern of life” (POL) for camouflage.  So even if our UAV operators see apparently unarmed natives moving, it is no guarantee of early detection.

Our UAVs over Afghanistan fly with their strobes flashing to avoid collisions.  If a Predator or Reaper crashes into a commercial airliner because it was flying blacked out while staring at the ground, that is a problem.  The enemy can see our UAVs from miles away.

A key realization: the enemy uses cheap night vision gear in the form of cameras that have night functions.  When our IR lasers, our IR strobes, our IR illumination or our IR spotlights are radiating, they can easily be seen using cheap digital cameras.  I recently told this to some Norwegian soldiers, who were as surprised as our soldiers to learn it.  I learned this from the enemy, not from our guys.  The Taliban even use smart phone cameras to watch for invisible lasers.  The enemy in Afghanistan has been caught using cameras for night vision.  It is just a stroke of common sense: I have been doing it for eight years since I noticed an IR laser one night in Iraq.

A Norwegian trooper explained that one dark night in Afghanistan, they got ambushed with accurate but distant machinegun fire.  When they turned off their IR strobes, the fire ended.  When they turned the IR strobes back on, the fires resumed.  When they turned them off for good, it was over.

Many of our people believe that the enemy does not use night vision.  There was a time when this was true, but the war has matured and this is now false.  If your firefly is strobing on your helmet, or if you are carrying a cracked IR chemlight, do not be surprised if you take accurate fire during a black night.  When JTACs mark targets with IR lasers, or when aircraft such as Predators lase for Hellfire shots or for target ID, they look like purple or green sunbeams through night vision optics and they are crazy bright.  You cannot miss them.

To maximize chances of success for an assault such as that at Bastion last Friday, the Taliban know that it is best to start early, on a moonless night, just after red illum has begun.  Other Afghans engaged in normal masking movements can provide POL camouflage.  The enemy knows that only “Terry Taliban” is skulking around after midnight, so they start early when possible.

By 7PM last Friday, the night was very dark, and by 8PM, it was thick and black, making it a perfect time to close in on the target.  Camp Bastion would appear lit up like Las Vegas, standing alone, glowing like a giant bubble of light in the “Desert of Death.”  On the darkest nights, the lights of Bastion sometimes reflect orange off the clouds above, and they can be seen for miles around, causing Afghans to ask why the base glows like the morning sun, yet they do not have a drop of electricity.  The days of goodwill and hope are over.

Go read the rest of Michael’s report.  He is at his best, and this is a very good one, with his knowledge of the terrain, the conditions on the ground, and technology on display.

But I want to take off to discuss corollary points.  Americans tend to think that every problem is technological, and thus, that every solution must likewise be technologically based.  The fact that Marines carry heavy kit means that loads must be lightened so that females can be in the infantry, and thus we send massive amounts of money to DARPA to design ridiculous robotic assistance for troopers.

Mules to carry supplies for the Marines are animals rather than technology, and so DARPA builds ridiculous things like the big dog, which uses an incredible amount of electricity and sounds like a million Africanized bees.  The Air Force must proceed apace to pilot-less aircraft since everyone knows about UAVs now, and finding IEDs requires sophisticated sensors rather than dogs.

But in reality, with their expeditionary mission, the Marine infantry will always carry heavy kit, and DARPA cannot and should not negate the differences between men and women.  Robots on the battlefield are a very large set of failure modes waiting to be actualized, animals will always be needed in war, and there will always be pilots in the Air Force.  And … solving the problem of IEDs means killing the IED-makers.

Sometimes technology can make things better for us, but just for a period of time.  Sometimes it can be our enemy, and reliance on it can make us incapable of making war without it.  As for failures, I am an engineer by training and trade, and I can outline failure modes (from which you cannot recover) until you can’t listen any more.

The Taliban have learned our habits, our vulnerabilities, and practices – good and bad – and have mentally processed our methods.  As my friend John Bernard said recently, concerning making war, we are trained to turn the enemy on his heels and then capitalize on that by not allowing him to regain his balance.  But we didn’t do that in Afghanistan.

Rather than kill the enemy, our mission is now to protect the population in a tip of the hat to state-building and population-centric counterinsurgency.  That mission has worn thin, and we are even now watching ISAF command jettison the very doctrines that we brought to the campaign.

If I thought we would resource and retool the mission, I would be the first to say stay.  But we won’t, and the mission is over.  Oh, we will be back.  We will endure Afghanistan / Pakistan / Hindu Kush II, and maybe III.  Perhaps then we will have the heart necessary to win the campaign.

But as Michael and I have both written, it’s time to come home.  The Taliban have our number, and the very troops we have put in place to prevent their return are killing U.S. servicemen.

U.S. Military Suspends Joint Patrols With Afghans

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 11 months ago

From CBS News:

The strategy for getting U.S. forces out of Afghanistan depends on training Afghan soldiers and police to protect the country themselves, but on Monday the U.S. military suspended most joint field operations with Afghan forces because so many Americans are being killed by the men they are training.

Afghan government troops — our allies — have turned their guns on NATO forces 36 times this year, killing 51, most of them Americans. That is more attacks than the last two years combined.

The order effectively suspends “until further notice” most of the operations which U.S. and Afghan troops conduct side by side. At higher headquarters, Afghans and Americans will still work together, but in the field small unit operations putting Afghan soldiers alongside Americans — the guts of the U.S. strategy to turn the fighting over to Afghans — will be suspended unless an exception is granted by a commanding general.

The order was issued after a long weekend in which four American and two British troops were killed by so-called “insider attacks” — Afghans turning their guns on their supposed allies.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey called the surge in insider attacks “a very serious threat to the campaign.”

In addition, two Marines were killed and eight fighter jets destroyed by enemy fighters who penetrated a heavily fortified base.

A very serious threat to the campaign.  You think so?  As for the Harriers destroyed by the Taliban, it cost us up to $240 million.

But regarding the suspension of patrols, is that the sound of state-building and population-centric counterinsurgency being flushed down the toilet?  Coriolis acceleration is too weak to effect the direction that water spins in a toilet.  So you can imagine it going whichever way you like.

Sudan Rejects U.S. Request To Send Marines To Guard Embassy

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 11 months ago

Remember when you read this report that you’re not reading The Onion.

Sudan has rejected a U.S. request to send a platoon of Marines to bolster security at the U.S. embassy outside Khartoum, the state news agency SUNA said on Saturday.

On Friday, around 5,000 people protested against a film that insults the Prophet Mohammad, storming the German embassy before breaking into the U.S. mission.

They also attacked the British embassy. At least two people were killed in clashes with police, according to state media.

A U.S. official told Reuters on Friday that Washington would send Marines to Sudan to improve security at the embassy, which is located outside Khartoum for security reasons.

“Sudan is able to protect the diplomatic missions in Khartoum and the state is committed to protecting its guests in the diplomatic corps,” Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti told SUNA.

The U.S. State Department declined to comment.

Sudan beefed up security at some missions on Saturday. A riot police truck was parked in front of the deserted German embassy, which protesters had set on fire on Friday. An Islamic flag raised by the crowd was still flying. Three officers manned the main gate.

More than 20 police officers were sitting in front of the U.S. embassy.

One commenter noted regarding the Marines guarding the Egyptian embassy not being allowed to have ammunition that “The USMC commander should have identified this order as unlawful and taken immediate action to have it superseded. In fact, he should have disobeyed the order. The Marine commander of the embassy detachment is as culpable for this outrage as the ambassador and Hillary Clinton.”

Which Marine commander should be held accountable is the question, but probably from the lowest level field grade officer (or NCO) in responsible charge of the mission up to the Marine Corps Commandant.  They are all responsible.

Under-resourcing a mission is both immoral and despicable.  It should be criminal, but apparently it is not.  Either way, the first degree of culpability for such an outrage lies with the criminally belligerent State Department.  The second degree of culpability lies with the Marine Corps for allowing themselves to be used as pawns in political gamesmanship rather than strike troops with an honorable and storied tradition.

Embassies are sovereign territory.  For us to be requesting to defend our territory is another sad sign of the state of our nation.  The administration has let our nation down yet again, but ultimately the people put this administration in charge.  Look upon what we have wrought, and don’t turn your eyes away from it.

Marines At American Embassy In Egypt Not Permitted Live Ammunition

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 11 months ago

I am sorry and sad to say that we must cease the celebratory mood over this day being the remembrance of the federal assault weapons ban sunset provision in order to deal with something else.  While we’re debating whether a gunship should have been with the Marines who attempted to defend the Libyan embassy, or whether they should have had a FAST or fleet infantry Marine mindset, whether they should have used massive fire to close with and destroy the enemy, and so on and so forth, there is this sad, sad report from Egypt.

U.S. Marines defending the American embassy in Egypt were not permitted by the State Department to carry live ammunition, limiting their ability to respond to attacks like those this week on the U.S. consulate in Cairo.

Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson “did not permit U.S. Marine guards to carry live ammunition,” according to multiple reports on U.S. Marine Corps blogs spotted by Nightwatch. “She neutralized any U.S. military capability that was dedicated to preserve her life and protect the US Embassy.”

U.S. officials have yet to confirm or comment on the reports. Time magazine’s Battleland blog reported Thursday “Senior U.S. officials late Wednesday declined to discuss in detail the security at either Cairo or Benghazi, so answers may be slow in coming.”

If true, the reports indicate that Patterson shirked her obligation to protect U.S. interests, Nightwatch states.

“She did not defend U.S. sovereign territory and betrayed her oath of office,” the report states. “She neutered the Marines posted to defend the embassy, trusting the Egyptians over the Marines.”

While Marines are typically relied on to defend U.S. territory abroad, such as embassies, these reports indicate that the Obama administration was relying on Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood-backed government to ensure American security, a move observers are questioning as violence in Cairo continues to rage.

Marc Toner, the State Department’s deputy spokesperson, did not respond to a request for comment from the Free Beacon. White House National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor also did not respond to a request for comment.

Failing to respond to requests for information is a sure sign of sin and misdeed by the State Department.  It’s too easy simply to reply to requests.  Therefore, we may only assume the accuracy of this report, and remark how sad, immoral and asinine it is for the U.S. Marines to be subject in any way to some idiotic State Department employee.

Happy Assault Weapons Ban Sunset Provision Day!

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 11 months ago

On September 13, 1994, the U.S. Congress passed the ridiculous, obscene, ill-conceived, and meddling assault weapons ban.  It had a sunset provision wherein it expired within ten years of passing the law (see also HR 3355).  Enjoy the day as one of the better, more memorable celebrations in America.

I intend to celebrate by enjoying the entertainment and studying the science of the shooting sports, which I have previously defined this way.

While ATF lawyers might disagree, for something to have a “sporting purpose” means nothing more than it can be taken to the range and operated by the owner to his or her entertainment or training.  The shooting skills – whether for official competitions such as IDPA or 3-Gun, or for unofficial activities such as regular range visits for the purpose of betterment at the science of firearms operation – are sports.  All of them.  Period.  This is non-negotiable.  If it is a firearm, it has a sporting purpose.

Here are some of the weapons we will enjoy and study this weekend.  These would all be considered “assault weapons” under the ban.

In the future, Congress is advised to stay out of our business.

Prior:

No One Needs ARs For Self Defense Or Hunting?

Do We Have A Constitutional Right To Own An AR?

Marines Headed To Libya To Reinforce Security

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 11 months ago

From the AP:

U.S. officials say some 50 Marines are being sent to Libya to reinforce security at U.S. diplomatic facilities in the aftermath of an attack in the eastern city of Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three American members of his staff.

The Marines are members of an elite group known as a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team, whose role is to respond on short notice to terrorism threats and to reinforce security at U.S. embassies. They operate worldwide.

The officials who disclosed the plan to send the Marines spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

There’s that word I don’t like again: “elite.”  You can disagree if you wish, but I think this is wrongheaded.  We don’t need “elite” forces, any more than we need “elite” SWAT team members when there’s a call for help in the typical American city, any more than we need “elite” law enforcement officers to come and rescue us in the case of threats rather than defend ourselves.

We need firepower.  We need an infantry mentality.  My son observed one day to me that with a Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) gunner laying down area suppressive fire, the leader with M203 40mm grenade launcher under his M4, and two other Marines with M4s or M16s providing defense of the SAW and leader, the typical Marine Corps infantry fire team can lay down an awful lot of effective fire, especially when conducting squad rushes or room clearing.  Given three fire teams in a squad, I would think that a few squads of Marine infantry would be very capable of providing the necessary security.

With our anemic and effeminate foreign policy, we’ve ceded both Egypt and Libya to the Islamists, so it’s better to bring the Americans home.  It’s done.  Our Middle East policy has been a failure, top to bottom, side to side, front to back.  But if you must keep a staff there, the next time Islamists try to suffocate an American diplomat, let the infantry lay down enough fire to kill them all as quickly as possible.  It matters not how many there are at the gate.  If they’re there, they are a threat.  Marine infantry tactics to deal with a threat is to kill the threat with extreme violence.  They’ll think before trying that one again.

We don’t need precise elitism.  We need firepower if we’re going to place diplomats in foreign countries that we intend to cede to the Islamists.

UPDATE #1: John Jay has some thoughts.

UPDATE #2: DirtyMick, who is a former employee of the DoD, brings us this report from Reuters-Africa:

Accounts of the mayhem at the U.S. consulate, where the ambassador and a fourth American died after a chaotic protest over a film insulting to Islam, remain patchy. But two Libyan officials, including the commander of a security force which escorted the U.S. rescuers, said a later assault on a supposedly safe refuge for the diplomats appeared professionally executed.

Miscommunication which understated the number of American survivors awaiting rescue – there were 37, nearly four times as many as the Libyan commander expected – also meant survivors and rescuers found themselves short of transport to escape this second battle, delaying an eventual dawn break for the airport.

Captain Fathi al-Obeidi, whose special operations unit was ordered by Libya’s authorities to meet an eight-man force at Benghazi airport, said that after his men and the U.S. squad had found the American survivors who had evacuated the blazing consulate, the ostensibly secret location in an isolated villa came under an intense and highly accurate mortar barrage.

“I really believe that this attack was planned,” he said, adding to suggestions by other Libyan officials that at least some of the hostility towards the Americans was the work of experienced combatants. “The accuracy with which the mortars hit us was too good for any regular revolutionaries.”

[ ... ]

Of the eight American troops who had come from Tripoli, one was killed and two were wounded, Obeidi said. A Libyan deputy interior minister said a second American was also killed in the attack on the safe house. It was not clear if this was a diplomat or one of the consulate’s original security detail.

“It began to rain down on us,” Obeidi told Reuters, describing the moment the attack began – just as the Libyan security force was starting up the 10 pickup trucks and sedans they had brought to ferry the Americans to the airport.

“About six mortars fell directly on the path to the villa,” he said. “During this firing, one of the marines whom I had brought with me was wounded and fell to the ground.

“As I was dragging the wounded marine to safety, some marines who were located on the roof of the villa as snipers shouted and the rest of the marines all hit the ground.

“A mortar hit the side of the house. One of the marines from the roof went flying and fell on top of us.”

Read the entire report.  Consider the things I said above in light of the facts that we can glean from this Reuters report.  First, this was a complex, well-coordinated attack.  Second, it involved machine guns, RPGs and mortars.  Third, only a squad was included in the QRF that responded to the event.  Fourth, they clearly weren’t prepared for either the initial assault or the evacuation.  Fifth, more men toting M4s wouldn’t have been an adequate reponse, and clearly aren’t adequate for future consulate security if we intend to be in this part of the world.  A well-placed mortar or RPG beats an M4 every time.  Finally, the Marines had shooters (probably designated marksmen, or guys who have been through DM training), and this wasn’t adequate.  There is only so much that good shooters can do.


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