History

9/11 and ISIS, A Few Thoughts

On this day, the 13th anniversary of the horrendous terrorist attacks that occurred on 9/11, we take a quick look back at the circumstances that led to this horrific event and how it affects our future.

 

While the roots of religious terrorism dates back centuries, we will confine ourselves to recent events.  In 1991, the United States had watched in shock as the infamous “evil empire” (the old Soviet Union) had collapsed upon itself in cluster of socialist bureaucratic incompetence after a long and vicious rule that killed millions, the US had also destroyed the world’s 4th largest army in one hundred hours of ground fighting.

Some people were talking about a world-wide Pax Americana, unfortunately, an event occurred which would have long-lasting implications that few at the time could foresee.

Operation Gothic Serpent, in an attempt to stop the humanitarian crisis going on in Somalia, a ‘country’ with a long history of violence and chaos, the United Nations started operations to bring in food and medical care to ease the suffering of the Somali population especially in the capital of Mogadishu.  The US took the lead in providing military units to defend these ‘angels of mercy’ from the ravages of the warlords who ruled their own fiefdoms within the former country.  As bureaucratic ineptitude within the UN and a complete lack of desire on the part of member nations to say nothing of the UN to either enlist or confront and destroy or disperse the armed militias of these warlords who were stealing the majority of aid supplies coming in, led to resentment of the people against UN forces.

As the situation in Somalia spiraled down, the UN decided to beef up the member nations military contributions, which led to the US deploying Task Force Ranger to apprehend the worst of the warlords, Mohamed Farrah Aidid.  During an operation to apprehend two of Aidid’s top advisers, Mohamed Hassan Awale and Omar Salad Elmi, the already volatile situation erupted into a full-scale battle between US led UN forces and the forces of Aidid throughout the streets of Mogadishu, made famous by the movie “Blackhawk Down”.

That was not the event, though, the event, was an non-event, had this happened in the height of Pax Romana, or Pax Britannica, one knew the next event would be a large powerful army marching in to Mogadishu and ending the violence and suffering, and in no small part a reminder to the world what happened when you upset the world power.

Instead the US promptly packed up and went home.  Now while I am of the mind, that no vital interests were served in sending troops into Somalia in the first place, if one assumes that feeding starving people is NOT a vital concern, the full-scale abandonment of the people of Somali to the excesses of tribal militia (which led to the rise of Al Shabaab (an Al Qaeda affiliate) led not only to the misery of Somali, but led many nasty people (including Osama bin Laden) to view the US as a paper tiger, able to easily crush its enemies but unwilling to risk casualties to do it.

The attack on 9/11 can be traced directly back to this event or non-event. Make no mistake this was not the only thing that led to the tragedy, but rather the watershed event that pushed us dramatically in that direction.  Had we done a multitude of things, some very simple, some very complex, things could have been different, and dozens of books and articles are written about them.

What should concern you is…

what have we done to prevent it from happening again?  Did our domestic spying program catch Major Hassan?  Did gun control stop the Tsarnaev brothers from their attack on Boston.

We sit here, with a border that is all but wide open, a deep reluctance by the current administration to interrogate and prosecute illegal combatants.  One can only accept that this will lead to another 9/11 attack sooner rather than later.  The most aggressive Islamic extremist group is now ISIS, but make no mistake Al Qaeda has not gone away, in fact, they have recently announced a new affiliate in India.

 

Again we find ourselves with one foot in a war, and an overwhelming desire to damage an enemy without getting dirty.  This is not how war works, we must maintain the theory that should we go to war,

that we Go To War,

and we make the enemies’ children’s children not want to take revenge but

rather shudder in fear at the ferocity of American power,

and then to have a warm feeling wash over them when they realize that the peace and prosperity they enjoy are the direct result of an American intervention.

We should be America, Best of Friends, Worst of Enemies, rather than America, Worst of Friends, Best of Enemies.

In regards to securing the home front, we should secure the border, and either legalize the estimated 10 million illegals or deport them.  We should put significantly more emphasis on winning the message war, tie economic benefits (foreign aid) to freedom and human rights, and most of important not be afraid of insisting that certain cultures come into the modern world and give up some of the savage aspects that has held them back and caused so much misery.

The History of the Crimea

Humpday History

Humpday History

The history of the Crimean peninsula is fascinating and a microcosm of the conflict between Western Europe, Eastern Europe, and the near east.

The Crimean Peninsula

The Crimean Peninsula

First of all let’s take a few minutes to look at the big picture, as you can see by the map above, the Crimea dominates the Black Sea, control of the Crimea, gives you control of the Black Sea.

Here is a map of the Crimea, so you have an idea where things are…

Crimea_Map_en

Now on to the history…

I won’t go into the pre-history, I will start in the early Iron Age (approximately the 8th Century B.C.), most of Crimea had been settled by Scythians, with the exception of southern Crimea where the Tauri (Cimmerians) lived, possibly evicted from the rest of Crimea by the Scythians.

By the 7th Century B.C. Greeks had established colonies in Crimea, allying themselves with the Tauri, against the Scythians, by the 4th Century B.C., the Greek colonies had grown strong enough to form a Kingdom (the Kingdom of Cimmerian Bosporus), this Kingdom was eventually ruled by Pontus, regained their independence, and then became a Roman client Kingdom.  By the mid 3rd Century, Rome had abandoned the Crimea.

After the end of quasi-Roman rule, the Crimea was invaded and/or occupied by a succession of invaders including the Goths (250), the Huns (376), the Bulgars (4th thru 8th Century), and the Khazars (8th Century).

In the mid 10th Century, Sviatoslav I of Kiev conquered the eastern part of the Crimea while the southern end was part of the Byzantine Empire (Cherson Theme).  In 988, Vladimir the Great conquered what is now Sevastopol (an impressive Eastern Orthodox cathedral marks the spot of that historical event.

sevcath

During the Summer of 1238, Batu Khan (grandson of Genghis Khan) devastated the Crimea and occupied the area (with the exception of some Venetian and Republic of Genoa colonial cities) until 1441.

As a side note, during the Siege of Kaffa [1346] (Feodosiya) by the Golden Horde, many historians believe that the first documented use of biological warfare, when Mongols who died of the plague were catapulted over the walls, possibly spreading the plague to Western Europe.

In 1441, Haci I Giray (another descendent of Genghis Khan) formed the Crimea Khanate from the remnants of the Golden Horde (destroyed by Tamerlane, believe it or not, another Genghis Khan descendent).  The Crimea Khanate lasted (primarily as a tributary kingdom) until 1783 when Russia annexed the entire area.  It was during the time of the Crimean Khanate that thousands of Ukrainians and Russians were captured and sold as slaves in Kaffa (numbering in the tens of thousands a year from 1450 until at least 1647.

The Crimea remained under Russian authority from 1783 until 1954, when for administrative and political pandering reasons the area was transferred from the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic to the Ukrainian SSR.

After the breakup of the USSR, Crimea remained part of the Ukraine, until the recent annexation by Russia.

I apologize for the tardiness, and for the very quick and incompleteness of this missive, although it does give one a better feel for the chaotic nature of the history of the Crimea.

Humpday History (4 Sep 13)

History

History

 

Here is some of the history of the nerve agent known as Sarin.

Sarin gas molecule

Sarin gas molecule

Sarin was developed in Wuppertal (Germany) by IG Farben as an improved pesticide in the late 1930s.

Allegedly, Sarin was named in honor of IG Farben’s scientists who discovered it:  Gerhard Schrader, Otto Ambros, Rudiger, and Van der Linde.  (I’m not sure how Van der Linde fits)

Nazi Germany produced somewhere between 500 kg and 10 tons of Sarin in World War 2.  Although Sarin and other nerve agents were incorporated into artillery shells, none were used against Allied forces.

 

Starting in the early 1950s both the NATO alliance and the Warsaw Pact started producing sarin to be used against the other in case of war.

 

In 1956 all sarin production in the US was ceased, although distilling existing stocks continued until 1970.

 

In March and April of 1988, Sarin was used by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq against both Kurdish civilians (in the city of Halabja, causing an estimated 5,000 causalities) and against Iranian troops (in the Second Battle of al Faw causing an estimated few thousand causalities)

In June 1994, the Aum Shinrikyo cult/terrorist group released sarin gas in what has become known as the Matsumoto incident (8 dead, 200 injured)

In March 1995, the Aum Shinrikyo group again released an attack with sarin, this time in the enclosed space of Tokyo’s subway system.  (13 dead, 6252 injured)

 

On 17 May 2004, sarin gas was used in a roadside bomb attack against US troops in Iraq.  (2 injured)

 

While sarin has been around roughly 80 years, its first confirmed use came only a quarter of a century ago, and although only used rarely since, it does seem that sarin’s primary capability lies in its ability to cause massive casualties, very quickly, and overwhelming most local emergency services.  Make no mistake while sarin has not been extremely fatal in the historical uses, it can be and is highly toxic.  Long-term effects from sarin exposure has not been properly studied.  While sarin does have a short shelf life, and an even shorter exposure life (time on the ground after it has been released), there are derivatives of sarin that are considered to be persistent agents, although none have been found in use in Syria to date.

 

For more information:  CDC — Facts About Sarin [Link]

Humpday History (28 Aug 13)

Today in History,

 

Dr Martin Luther King, Jr gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, this was and is the most important speech about Freedom in modern history.  If you have not had the pleasure of watching or listening to it, please do.

 

Humpday History (14 Aug 13)

History

History

 

On this day in history…..

 

1040 — King Duncan I is killed in battle against his cousin and rival Macbeth, who becomes King of Scotland

 

1848 — Oregon Territory is organized by an act of congress

 

1880 — Construction of the Koln Cathedral is complete, 632 years after construction began.  (It is nice, tho.)

 

1947 — Pakistan gains independence from Great Britain.  (chaos ensues)

 

1980 — Lech Walesa leads strike in Gdasnk shipyard, leading to the eventual downfall of communism in Poland.  (A brave man and inspirational leader)

 

A small sampling of some historical events that occurred on this day in history.

While not quite as important, but nevertheless an amusing factoid…

Today is Mila Kunis’ birthday.

So Happy Birthday Mrs. Kunis.

MilaKunis

A Theory I’m Kicking Around (26 Jul 13)

I’ve been kicking around a theory for a bit…so it is a bit raw, but please bear with me.

Now while I am no historian, I do love history, especially the actions and thoughts of people both famous and not-so-famous.  [One of my favs:  About an Italian Forced Laborer in Nazi Germany].

 

So here is my theory, what if all the people who we have heard about in history that have committed atrocities all have a link, one thing that connects them?  I think that there might be more than one…what is one link, well obviously, they are filled with hatred, but what if there is more…what if they all are in their heart of hearts…statists?  What do I mean?  Well, let’s look at some history…

Heinrich Kramer (and allegedly Jakob Sprenger), author(s) of the infamous Malleus Maleficarum (aka Hammer of the Witches), a misogynist, statist, book filled with falsehoods, misinterpretations, and a good spattering of silliness, such as penis stealing.

Socialism/Communism, (yes I know Marxists like to say there is a difference but to the peasants/kulaks, and basically anyone is not a apparatchik or high government official, they are the same).  Do I really need to document the literally millions of people who were killed outright, by starvation or being worked to death, allowed to die due to lack of medical treatment and other methods, because they were deemed ‘undesirables‘?

 

I would even go so far as to postulate that there is not now and never has been any socialist/communist governments.  The governments that claim that are nothing more than statist dictatorships, irrelevant of their supposed left or right leanings.  The whole left/right thing is more of an academic debate, then a ‘ground truth’, as far as I am concerned, and no doubt if the millions who have died (due to government dictate) could speak, they would agree.

 

But I digress, if all of these people all hate freedom, i.e. freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, Freedom of peaceful assembly, you know all those freedoms that are guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.  Are they not more similar than different, when it comes to John Q. Public types, like us?  So perhaps instead of getting into a pointless academic debate over the differences between communism, socialism, Nazi’s, Islamic fundamentalists, racists, and any other Freedom hating groups of people, perhaps we could just group them all together and call it day, and then get on with marginalizing them and their lies and propaganda.

 

[I was going to add some pictures of the atrocities but I felt that was not only unnecessary but too graphic for some of our younger readers, if you wish to see evidence of these crimes, please bing/google Gulag or Concentration Camp]

 

 

Humpday History (17 Jul 13)

History

History

Humpday History for 17 July 2013,

on this day in history

-1762- Catherine the Great ascends to the throne as Czarina of Russia.

-1918- Czar Nicolas I of Russia, his wife and children were murdered by Russian      communists.

-1945- Potsdam Conference opens, attended by Churchill/Attlee (UK), Stalin (USSR), and Truman (USA).

-1955- Disneyland opens.

-1975- Apollo-Soyuz spacecraft dock somewhere over Metz, France.

Apollo-soyuz

So a quick recap, a strong monarch ascends the Russian throne, later a weak one is murdered, then the cold war starts, a huge amusement park opens, and the cold war continues (in space), so a busy day in history.

 

For more history (and better) check out History Kicks Ass!  A great website with tons of fascinating material.  The past couple of days have been on jewelry from history and the pictures are amazing, so if you have some time, you should head over there and learn that History does kick ass!

 

 

On This Day In History…

History

History

 

1523 — Gustav Vasa, is elected King of Sweden (Swedish national day)

1752 — A severe fire, burns down 1/3 of the buildings in Moscow (Russia)

1912 — Novarupta erupts, the 2nd largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century (Ak)

1918 — Battle of Belleau Wood (France)

1932 — Revenue Act of 1932, the first gasoline tax in the US

1933 — The first drive-in theater (Camden, NJ)

1944 — Battle of Normandy (France)

1981 — Bihar train disaster (India)

1984 — Tetris, released (due diligence conducted :D)

 

A lot of nasty things (wars, natural and otherwise disasters, and of course taxes), but King Gustav became king, elected no less, an addictive game was released, and of course drive-ins, so the day could definitely be worse.

Humpday History (10 Apr 13)

Humpday History

Humpday History

 

Humpday History for 10 April 2013…How words change meaning over time.

 

Many ancient cultures believed words had power, many cultures still do, yet at the same time many words have had their meanings change over the years, an easy example is the word AWFUL, it once meant to be full of awe, as in a good thing, now we understand it to mean less than pleasant.

Some other examples are:

Accent used to mean ‘to sing’

Decimate used to mean ‘to kill 1 in 10’.

Bimbo used to mean one of the guys or tough guy.

Careful used to mean full of anxiety.

Left used to mean weak.

Addict used to mean a debtor awarded as a slave to his creditor (I guess that still kind of applies)

Aerial used to mean imaginary.

Counterfeit once meant a perfect copy.

Girl used to mean a young person (irrelevant of gender)

Neck meant a parcel of land (as in ‘this neck of the woods’)

 

There are numerous other examples.

 

If one can agree that words have power, than we have the power to use and or abuse said power.  Words can be used to express the beauty of many things, they can also be used to hurt, while the old saying goes “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” we all realize that words can hurt, even when we don’t want them to.  While in no way does that mean we should shy away from speaking the truth, we can use tact, when we speak particularly painful truisms.

One could debate whether or not words should shift meaning, whether they should evolve, being that our culture evolves our language needs to as well.  I learned this in a debate I had with my son, so I guess even an old dog can learn new tricks.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s Humpday History, come back tomorrow, for an all new post from yours truly.